Rich people have it made. No, seriously they do. Take 16-year-old Ethan Couch for example.
Last year, four people were killed when Couch’s pickup plowed into pedestrians on a road in Burleson, Texas. Couch’s truck also hit a parked car, which then slid into another vehicle headed in the opposite direction.
Two people riding in the bed of the teen’s pickup were tossed in the crash and severely injured. One is no longer able to move or talk because of a brain injury, while the other suffered internal injuries and broken bones.
Toxicology reports showed that Couch had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit.
Couch’s sentencing was held earlier this week. You’d think that someone who has killed 4 people would be behind bars right about now. But the judge in the case saw fit to sentence Couch to 10 years probation, thanks to Couch’s attorney’s “affluenza” defense. The judge ruled that Couch must undergo long-term treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation center. His father has reportedly agreed to pay upwards of $500,000 to send him to a high-end rehab center in California.
Affluenza, not to be confused with influenza, is a term that is used to describe a condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol.
Couch’s lawyers claimed that he came from wealthy parents who never disciplined him for reckless behavior in the past, leading the teen never to learn the consequences of his actions. Dr. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist testifying for Couch, said the teen suffered from the “affliction” and cited an incident when the boy, then 14, was found by police in a parked pickup truck with a naked girl. He was ticketed but went unpunished.
The victim’s family expressed outrage following the sentencing and some people have called for the judge to be removed from the bench.
“Let’s face it. … There needs to be some justice here,” Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter, told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Wednesday night.
“For 25 weeks, I’ve been going through a healing process. And so when the verdict came out, I mean, my immediate reaction is — I’m back to week 1. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window,” he said.
Imagine if Couch was a poor
black kid on trial for the same crime in Texas. Of course pleading “affluenza” wouldn’t fly because poor people are anything but affluent.
Well how about “povertitis”? I’m sure there’s someone who’ll appear before the same judge who could say they stole that brand new television because they live in poverty and couldn’t afford to buy one on their own. I mean, they obviously can’t claim the “affluenza” defense.
Let’s see if that’ll fly in a court of law.