Texas Drunk Driving Case Ruling Generates Outrage on the Internet
By: Stacey M. Washington, Attorney & Counselor
PRLog -- A great deal of outrage occurred throughout the internet regarding a recent drunk driving case ruling in Texas. Affluent 16-year-old Ethan Couch killed four people and injured two when he caused a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter by intoxication and two counts of assault by intoxication causing bodily injury. Couch was sentenced to 10 years of probation and a treatment program in lieu of spending 20 years in jail upon conviction.
Gary Miller, a psychologist assigned to Couch in court stated that the teen “never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way. He had the cars and he had the money. He had the freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.” The psychologist identified the behavior as “affluenza syndrome.”
Based on the psychological evaluation, his attorney appealed to state District Judge Jean Boyd that the teen needed rehabilitation and not prison. The attorney argued that Couch’s upbringing made it impossible for him to exercise reasonable judgment regarding social situations. In particular, the defense attested to Couch’s inability to learn right from wrong and was unable to comprehend the relationship between action and consequence due to such an affluent upbringing.
An outcry for justice poured throughout the internet after the ruling was made. Several members of the public felt that the ruling was unjust and that the teen should have been required to serve time. Some lawyers on the other hand did point out that the teen pleaded guilty to the charges and that it was the judge who issued the light sentence. Currently, Texas Attorney General Greg Aboott is determining whether the judge’s decision can be appealed.
In Michigan, a similar conviction for vehicular manslaughter caused by a drunk driver would result in a lengthy sentence ranging from 10 to 20 years in prison. Typically, a convicted defendant would not serve more than 15 years in prison and would be required to pay anywhere between $2,500 to $10,000 in penalties/fines. The length of a sentence also depends on whether any emergency response personnel (ex – police officer and/or firefighter)
I will be providing additional information regarding the request for an appeal on my social media networks (https://plus.google.com/+
Ethan Couch, the rich kid whose ‘affluenza’
The Affluenza Defense: Judge Rules Rich Kid’s Rich Kid-ness Makes Him Not Liable for Deadly Drunk Driving Accident (affluenza:%20Rich%
Texas judge pressured to give 'affluenza' teen drunk driver jail time (http://www.csmonitor.com/
Penalties for Drunk Driving Vehicular Homicide (http://www.madd.org/