On Monday, December 29th, Mexico’s state prosecutors issued a statement that Ethan Couch ( Affluenza Teen) and his mother, Tonya Couch were arrested in Puerto Vallarta. Both mother and son were turned over to Mexican immigration for deportation.
In June 2013, Ethan Couch, a white 16 years old, was driving drunk and speeding on a road near Fort Worth, Texas. He crashed into a disabled SUV on the side of the road. He killed four people and injured several others.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault. Since he was 16, he wasn’t tried as an adult. The juvenile court judge sentenced him in to 10 years’ probation and a short term in a rehabilitation center.
During sentencing, a defense expert argued that Couch was not responsible for his actions because his very wealthy parents had spoiled him so much that he was totally irresponsible. The expert called the condition–“affluenza”. Affluenza is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association. Texas and the rest of our nation was shocked by the court’s acceptance of this alleged medical condition and the court’s sentence. Tarrant County sheriff Dee Anderson stated that Couch never showed any remorse for his actions.
Ethan Couch missed a mandatory appointment with his probation officer on 10 December. Ethan Couch and his mother had disappeared in November after a video was discovered showing Couch at a party where there was alcohol. If it was proven that he had been drinking, Couch’s probation would probably be revoked. He faced a sentence up to ten years of prison. After missing the probation appointment and the appearance of the video, an arrest warrant was issued for him.
For decades, young teenagers and young adults of color have received unfair long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. It is hard to reconcile their harsh sentences with Couch’s punishment of probation for killing four people and injuring several others. Black parents must shake their heads at the disparity of sentencing for their children in comparison to white children.
What will be the final sentence of Ethan Couch?
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com