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Dick Miller, a psychologist hired as an expert by the defense, testified in court that the teen was a product of " affluenza " and was unable to link his actions with consequences because of his parents teaching him that wealth buys privilege. Following a court hearing closed to the public, Judge Boyd instead sentenced Couch to an unspecified lock-down rehabilitation facility at his parents' expense; the time Couch would have to stay there was also unspecified.

Couch was ordered to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and driving. A hearing on April 11, , revealed that on February 19, , Couch had begun treatment "at the North Texas State Hospital , a state-owned in-patient mental health facility" in Vernon , Texas. The amount ordered is the maximum allowed on the payment schedule. Couch's parents promised in court to pay the requested fee for their son's treatment. At least one relative of the crash victims protested the lightness of Couch's sentence and that Couch had expressed no remorse.

At the time, the judge allowed the defense fourteen days to argue against the order. Following the probation sentence, the Tarrant County District Attorney's office asked a juvenile judge to incarcerate Couch, on two counts of intoxication assault, saying there had been no verdict formally entered for those charges and "every case deserves a verdict.

One psychologist who disagreed with Couch's sentence — Dr. Suniya S. Luthar , who specializes in "the costs of affluence in suburban communities" — maintains that research shows feelings of entitlement among affluent youth are a social problem, and that "we are setting a double standard for the rich and poor. Writing in The Guardian , Texas student Jessica Luther points out that Couch's family's ability to pay for private therapy, i. An offender without their means would end up in the overcrowded, publicly supported Texas juvenile justice system where the judge noted Couch "might not get the kind of intensive therapy in a state-run program that he could receive at the California facility suggested by his attorneys".

Another psychologist — Robin S. Rosenberg — has argued that Miller's defense makes no sense because Couch could have learned that bad behavior has consequences in other areas of his life, and that a sentence to a luxurious rehabilitation home reinforces the message "that his wealth and privilege can obviate the negative consequences of his criminal behavior". Critics complained that the presiding judge — District Judge Jean Boyd — had given a much harsher sentence to another year-old intoxicated driver 10 years earlier, who killed one person.

In February , Boyd sentenced Eric Bradlee Miller, who stole a truck and killed a 19 year old father, [33] to 20 years telling him, "the court is aware you had a sad childhood I hope you will take advantage of the services [offered by the Texas Youth Commission] and turn your life around.

According to The New York Times , however, it is unclear what, if any, part, Couch's family's wealth played in his sentence. The leading Republican and Democratic candidates in the Texas gubernatorial election , respectively, Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis , commented on the sentence. Davis referred to it as a "disgrace" and Abbott, then-Texas Attorney General, said his office was looking to appeal the case. At a February 5, hearing, Eric Boyles, whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash, said "Had he not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different.

Five civil lawsuits were filed by families of the four victims and two of the passengers between September and November , against Couch, his family, and Cleburne Metal Works doing business as Cleburne Sheet Metal, as the truck's registered owner. Molina, who was riding in the bed of Couch's truck and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Five of the six suits all those except the McLaughlin suit were consolidated in January to save court costs. In the McConnell suit, lawyers for the defendants filed a writ of mandamus in July to prevent access to the records of Dr. Miller; the emergency stay was granted by the Texas Court of Appeals in August, [48] but mandamus was subsequently denied in September.

The McConnell suit was settled in October In late , authorities began investigating a claim made on Twitter [51] on December 2, The user posted a video along with a caption stating that Couch was in violation of his probation. The video shows several young people playing beer pong at a party, one of whom appears to be Couch. Consequences might include a re-sentencing, which could mean a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.

A warrant was issued for Couch on December 11, , after his probation officer could not reach him. Marshals Service , FBI , and other agencies joining the hunt for the suspect who was believed to have fled the country. Couch and his mother were discovered and arrested in Puerto Vallarta , in Jalisco , Mexico on December 28, Couch, having dropped his fight to avoid being deported from Mexico, was flown back to the United States on January 28, , and was held in custody before appearing at a hearing on February 19 regarding his original juvenile probation case being transferred to the adult court system.

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On April 13, , the court sentenced Couch to serve four consecutive terms of days in jail one term for each of the car crash victims equaling two years in jail, as punishment regarding his original drunk driving case from in light of his recent trip to Mexico. Couch was released on April 2, He is permitted to drive and has a video-equipped interlock ignition device installed in his vehicle, which will prevent him from starting his car without passing a breathalyzer test, according to Mike Simonds of the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.


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The days Ethan Couch served for his crimes shows that drunk driving homicides still aren't treated as the violent crimes that they are We will be watching, because this case brought to light that there is so much more work to be done to hold drunk drivers accountable. According to court documents Couch tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol in a mandatory drug screening that was part of his probation.

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