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“Affluenza” Teen Sentenced to Two Years in Jail

Kathleen Becker6 months ago

A Texas teen who killed four people in a 2013 drunk-driving crash was sentenced in an adult court to four consecutive 180-day terms in jail for a suspected parole violation on Wednesday.

The teen was placed on 10 years probation in 2013 after the defense argued he suffered from “affluenza” and was so spoiled from wealth that he could not tell right from wrong.

About the New Sentence

Ethan Couch, 19, was previously held in Tarrant County since January following his deportation from Mexico where he and his mother fled.

County Judge Wayne Salvant sentenced Couch in his first appearance.  Prosecutors could only give him the maximum allowed due to the terms set when his case was transferred out of juvenile into an adult Court. 

“You are not getting out of jail today,” Judge Salvant told Couch. Another hearing will take place in two weeks for the judge to go over the sentence he gave.

Due to his age of 16 at the time of arrest, the judge issued a gag order to keep his juvenile records sealed and confidential.

According to Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, Couch’s whole demeanor changed from cocky to compliant since he has been in custody. He also is in solitary confinement for his own safety.

Details of Couch’s Initial Trial

A psychologist testified at his trial in 2013 that Couch was very spoiled by his financially well off parents that he could not tell right from wrong.  The term “affluenza” was named after the psychologist description of affliction.

Critics were outraged when Couch was sentenced to only 10 months of probation, claiming the affluenza defense as well as his wealthy family kept the families who lost loved ones from receiving justice.

Mexican authorities took Couch and his mother into custody after they fled from the United States into Mexico.  A social media video gave the teen away, showing Couch at a party with alcohol which is one of his violations of his probation.

Couch’s mother is facing up to 10 years in prison for helping her son escape to Mexico. She is currently released on bail awaiting trial.


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