“Affluenza” teen defendant sentenced to Jail — barely

Ethan Couch, the teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people and then violated probation by traveling to Mexico with his mother, was sentenced on Wednesday to nearly two years in jail.

Mr. Couch, who turned 19 on Monday, had previously avoided a harsher punishment because he was sentenced in juvenile court, where the emphasis is on rehabilitation. But after his foray to Mexico last year, prosecutors moved the case to adult court.

On Wednesday, a district court judge, Wayne F. Salvant, ruled that Mr. Couch must spend 720 days in Tarrant County Jail — 180 days for each count of intoxication manslaughter. The judge said the court would reconvene in two weeks to consider modifying the terms after each side submitted additional written arguments.

“Nothing I do is in stone, so I might reconsider,” Judge Salvant said.

Mr. Couch showed no emotion as the sentence was read. He will remain in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for his protection…

If the case had remained in juvenile court, Mr. Couch’s probation would have ended on his 19th birthday.

The case dates from June 15, 2013, when Mr. Couch, who was 16 at the time, and a group of friends stole beer from a store, had a party at his parents’ house and then went for a drive. Mr. Couch, who was behind the wheel, hit four people on the side of a road outside Burleson, a suburb of Fort Worth, killing them. A passenger in Mr. Couch’s vehicle was paralyzed and suffered brain damage.

Hours after his arrest, Mr. Couch had a blood alcohol level of 0.24, three times the legal limit for drivers in Texas.

Mr. Couch’s case received widespread attention after a defense witness argued that Mr. Couch suffered from “affluenza,” a term used to describe psychological problems that can afflict children of privilege.

A juvenile court judge, Jean Boyd, subsequently declined to give him the punishment sought by Tarrant County prosecutors — 20 years in prison — and ordered him to be placed in a long-term treatment facility while on 10-year probation. The decision angered the families of those Mr. Couch killed and injured. Others questioned whether a teenager with a less affluent background would have received similar leniency.

Perfectly reasonable questions further validated by the creep and his mommy fleeing to Mexico.

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