"Affluenza"

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"Affluenza"

'Affluenza' teen gets probation for driving drunk, killing 4 | National News - WCVB Home

Did he get off too easy? Do you think this sets a legal precedence?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

It's seriously disgusting to think that he got off that easy because he comes from a wealthy family. Basically, a teen that came from a less affluent family but did the exact same act would have gotten a harsher sentence? That is just wrong.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

Wait. So the cure for affluenza is to continue along the no consequences or boundaries path?

Your parents didn't teach you any boundaries so I'm not going to either.

Part of me hopes he violates his probation just enough to get thrown I'm prison but without hurting anymore innocent people.

Since his parents are so affluent I hope they go bankrupt paying out in civil lawsuits to the victims' families.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Though it makes good headlines, I don't really think it had anything to do with how much money his family had. It sounds like more than just rich kids are getting off.

As teens drink and drive, Texas only talks tough | Dallas Morning News

They were talking about this on the radio this morning, and the way they talked is that judges don't want to send juveniles to prison on DWI charges because they end up with the more hardened kids that have been sent in for more violent crimes and come out worse than they started, and therefore more likely to re-offend. Since this kid is 16, even if the judge had sentenced him to 20 years he would have gotten out in 2 years when he is 18 because that is the normal practice. So the judge sentenced him to probation for 10 years which is much more restrictive than parole and that way he would be monitored closely for the whole 10 years. I'm still a little up in the air on this because it really seems like he should have gotten some jail time, but it really sounds like this is normal practice and they didn't give him any special treatment.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

It really sickens me that he got off with so little, but I am not 100% convinced this is all about wealth. If you look at similar cases in Texas to this it really appears this sentence seems to the be the norm.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Though it makes good headlines, I don't really think it had anything to do with how much money his family had. It sounds like more than just rich kids are getting off.

As teens drink and drive, Texas only talks tough | Dallas Morning News

They were talking about this on the radio this morning, and the way they talked is that judges don't want to send juveniles to prison on DWI charges because they end up with the more hardened kids that have been sent in for more violent crimes and come out worse than they started, and therefore more likely to re-offend. Since this kid is 16, even if the judge had sentenced him to 20 years he would have gotten out in 2 years when he is 18 because that is the normal practice. So the judge sentenced him to probation for 10 years which is much more restrictive than parole and that way he would be monitored closely for the whole 10 years. I'm still a little up in the air on this because it really seems like he should have gotten some jail time, but it really sounds like this is normal practice and they didn't give him any special treatment.

I think his crime was pretty violent. I mean, if you kill someone with poison it wouldn't necessarily be messy, but the act itself - murder - seems violent by nature. I could post pictures from all sorts of murder scenes and some from the accident. Yeah, violent.

Also, how do you come out worse than murder? I can see the argument if a minor stole a diamond necklace and then graduated to GTA or robbery, but murder is pretty much the top of the hierarchy of crimes.

Teens aren't going to take the law seriously if the adults aren't. And clearly they aren't.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"mom3girls" wrote:

It really sickens me that he got off with so little, but I am not 100% convinced this is all about wealth. If you look at similar cases in Texas to this it really appears this sentence seems to the be the norm.

Then why use "affluenza" as a defense?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

I think his crime was pretty violent. I mean, if you kill someone with poison it wouldn't necessarily be messy, but the act itself - murder - seems violent by nature. I could post pictures from all sorts of murder scenes and some from the accident. Yeah, violent.

Also, how do you come out worse than murder? I can see the argument if a minor stole a diamond necklace and then graduated to GTA or robbery, but murder is pretty much the top of the hierarchy of crimes.

Teens aren't going to take the law seriously if the adults aren't. And clearly they aren't.

Am I missing something? We are talking about DUI right? While terrible I agree, it is not the same as someone who went out on purpose to kill someone. I do for sure think 20 years in prison could make a kid who would otherwise be ok, into a hardened criminal.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

See I think if you choose to drive under the influence you have chosen to possibly hurt someone. You're lucky if you don't. I think it should be considered murder.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Am I missing something? We are talking about DUI right? While terrible I agree, it is not the same as someone who went out on purpose to kill someone. I do for sure think 20 years in prison could make a kid who would otherwise be ok, into a hardened criminal.

Four people were parked on the side of the road trying to fix a broken-down vehicle. He drove into them at 70 mph.

Had he been sober and drove straight into 4 people at 70 mph killing all 4 of them, what would you consider that crime? Being .24 BAC shouldn't give him a pass.

DUI murder prosecutions in California are based on a 1981 state Supreme Court ruling that allowed fatal drunken driving crashes to be charged as second-degree murders. The state's high court ruled that DUI meets the malice standard required for murder because it shows a conscious disregard for human life.
Murder Charges Increasing in Fatal DUI Cases

What crime are we worried about Ethan Couch graduating to? It's highly likely he will drink and drive again. Shouldn't we also try to make the punishment a deterrent?

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

BURLESON -- News 8 has learned the 16-year-old boy involved in a crash that killed four people June 15 had two prior alcohol violations.

Police in the Town of Lakeside, northwest of Fort Worth, found Ethan Couch with a 12-ounce can of beer and a 1.75-liter bottle of vodka. Just before 1 a.m. February 19, a Lakeside officer gave Couch two citations -- one for being a minor in possession of alcohol, the other for consuming alcohol as a minor.

News 8 obtained court documents related to both citations.

In March, Couch plead no contest in both cases. His mother paid $423 in court costs. As terms of his probation, her son agreed to take an alcohol awareness class and participate in 12 hours of community service, to be completed by June 19.

But in the final moments of June 15, police say Couch was on Burleson Retta Road with seven other teenagers in his truck. Police believe he hit a group of people standing near a stalled car on the side of the road. The driver of the disabled vehicle and three Good Samaritans who stopped to help her were instantly killed. Nine other people were hurt.

Yeah, how's that alcohol awareness class working out?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Jessica80" wrote:

See I think if you choose to drive under the influence you have chosen to possibly hurt someone. You're lucky if you don't. I think it should be considered murder.

I am not saying there should not be punishment, but there is a difference between someone who drives home after having a few too many and gets into an accident, then there is between someone to plans to go up to another person and shoots them or stab them.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I am not saying there should not be punishment, but there is a difference between someone who drives home after having a few too many and gets into an accident, then there is between someone to plans to go up to another person and shoots them or stab them.

Yes. The difference is one is 1st degree murder and one is 2nd degree murder.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Then why use "affluenza" as a defense?

Because he had an attorney that knew it would work? I dont know. I am furious about how DUIs are handled in the country, we are not doing this correct at all. But I think the judge followed the sentencing trends in his area. I dont think that makes the sentence right.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Yes. The difference is one is 1st degree murder and one is 2nd degree murder.

Someone who has a DUI has the chance of still being a productive member of society. Someone who has spent 20 years in jail starting at age 16 can go on to rape, drug use, theft, and other very serious crimes. It is not necessarily in society's best interest to turn this young man into a hardened criminal.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Someone who has a DUI has the chance of still being a productive member of society. Someone who has spent 20 years in jail starting at age 16 can go on to rape, drug use, theft, and other very serious crimes. It is not necessarily in society's best interest to turn this young man into a hardened criminal.

He already is a criminal. Problem with this is that with DUI, 1/3 are repeat offenders. So the risk he poses to society is already pretty high. Rather than trying to save him, we should try to save his future victims.

If we look at "productive member of society" when we charge and sentence people, I can name a dozen people off the top of my head who killed their spouses. And a few who killed cops yet remained free for decades because the case was unsolved. How can we put a 40 YO who killed someone when he was 18 in prison when for 22 years he was a productive member of society with no other run-ins with the law?

How can we use this as a consideration? Justice is supposed to be blind.

At some point people just need to be punished for their crimes. He hasn't been,