'Affluenza Teen' Is Ready To Leave Icky Jail Now, Please And Thank You
Back in 2013, a young scamp by the name of Ethan Couch stole some beer from a Wal-Mart with his friends and then went for a joy ride that resulted in the death of four people and the injuring of eleven others. When he went to trial, his lawyers argued that he had a serious condition known as "affluenza" -- aka, being a spoiled brat, and was unable to understand right from wrong on account of his parents spoiling him so much.
And, oh! The adventures he has had since then!
After a series of unfortunate events involving breaking his probation with beer pong and running off with his mommy to Mexico to escape the long arm of the law, Ethan ended up back in front of a judge, looking like an especially haggard Bud Cort. A judge, who was much less understanding of how hard it is to be a super rich kid whose parents let him do whatever he wants, sentenced him to 720 days in jail -- 180 for each person he killed.
His lawyers are now claiming that the judge in question had no right to sentence him to jail, because they claim he never should have been sent to criminal court in the first place, since his crimes took place when he was a juvenile. However, his case was moved to grown up court after he turned 19 in April of 2016, and even his own lawyer at the time was all like "Yeah, we figured that was inevitable."
Shockingly enough, however, juveniles are tried as adults pretty much all the time. In Texas, where this took place, a juvenile as young as 14 can be tried as an adult if there is a waiver from a judge. Which there was! He had a hearing and everything!
This is relatively common when the juvenile is older, if the crime was particularly serious, if they have a lengthy record, and if past attempts at rehabilitation have failed. Ethan Couch was 18 at the time, had previously killed four people, and attempted to evade prosecution for violating his probation by leaving the country and refusing to come back.
Prison isn't pleasant for anybody, and it is probably not pleasant for Ethan Couch. But you know what is probably less pleasant? Losing someone you love because some spoiled brat got drunk and drove a pick-up truck into them, and then never went to jail because the judge decided he was too rich to know right from wrong, and who then refused to even say "I'm sorry."
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse