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Victim of ‘Affluenza’ Gets Probation After Killing 4 in Crash

A Texas teen will face no jail time after claiming ‘affluenza’ was behind his decision to get drunk and crash into pedestrians, costing the lives of  four people including a pastor, mother and daughter, and a young woman.  Ethan Couch, age 16, was sentenced in a juvenile court to 10 years of probation after his lawyer’s successfully argued that he was a victim of his wealth.

A psychologist for the defense told the courts that Couch’s family wealth “bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences,” leading Couch not to fully understand the consequences of his actions when he got behind the wheel drunk, killing four people.

As part of his sentence Couch was also sentenced to undergo treatment at a private facility, which is estimated to cost $450,000.  Couch’s family is expected to foot the bill.

Not surprisingly, many are outraged that Couch got off so easily on a defense which ultimately suggests that Crouch was not responsible for his actions because he felt entitled and above the law.

Dr. Gary Buffone, a psychologist who works with wealthy families pointed out that ‘affluenza’ is not a clinical disorder or a legal defense, and basically boils down to being “a spoiled brat.”

“Essentially what he (the judge) has done is slapped this child on the wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be responsible for in any other situation,” Buffone said. “The defense is laughable, the disposition is horrifying … not only haven’t the parents set any consequences, but it’s being reinforced by the judge’s actions.”

The successful ‘affluenza’ defense also serve to  reinforce the idea that white, rich kids are somehow above the law.

“What is the likelihood if this was an African-American, inner-city kid that grew up in a violent neighborhood to a single mother who is addicted to crack and he was caught two or three times …,” psychologist Dr. Suniya Luthar asked. “What is the likelihood that the judge would excuse his behavior and let him off because of how he was raised?”

Lead attorney for the Couch family maintained that the sentence was fair, stating that the judge is ordering intensive therapy and “fashioned a sentence that could have him under the thumb of the justice system for the next 10 years.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot/AOL

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.