Families of teens killed in DUI wreck file lawsuit against ‘affluenza’ teen

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Ethan Couch (Photo: CNN / WFAA)

Ethan Couch (Photo: CNN / WFAA)

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — The families of four teens who were killed in a drinking and driving crash have filed civil lawsuits against the 16-year-old Texas teenager who claimed he wasn’t responsible for the crash because his personal wealth made him unable to discern right from wrong.

Ethan Couch was sentenced to just treatment and 10 years probation for the deadly June crash. His defense attorney’s argued he suffered from “affluenza” — the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for him, KXAS-TV reported.

The judge’s sentence disappointed prosecutors and stunned victims’ family members, who say they feel that Couch got off too easy. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum of 20 years behind bars.

Lawyers for Couch, 16, had argued that the teen’s parents should share part of the blame for the crash because they never set limits for the boy and gave him everything he wanted.

According to WFAA, a psychologist called by the defense described Couch as a product of “affluenza.”

He reportedly testified that the teen’s family felt wealth bought privilege, and that Couch’s life could be turned around with one to two years of treatment and no contact with his parents.

Couch was sentenced by a juvenile court judge Tuesday. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could face up to 10 years of incarceration, according to a statement from the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.

Judge Jean Boyd told the court she would not release Couch to his parents, but would work to find the teen a long-term treatment facility.

“There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day,” said Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter. “The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can’t buy justice in this country.”

12 comments

  • Barbara Calder

    Money and privilege buy justice in the Denver area also. Don’t you remember the Cherry Creek High School student, who, on camera stole the AP and ACT exams and was NOT expelled from school, back in April 2012. His family was wealth and NO charges were filed. The “official” reason being it was the only way for the school to get the tests returned to them. I, personally, telephoned GV police and I was told that no charges were filed because it could harm the student’s chances of being accepted into a good university or career. The high school even was going to allow the student (according to GV police, I will get in trouble if I call him a thief), back into class, until enough students made a stir about it. Once again justice is spelled JUST US!

  • Max Power

    Barbara you seem to have some emotional attachment that you are not able to get over. You personally telephoned GV police…why? Dude stole some tests, oh no, get over it and find something better to do then telephone the police. Munson!

  • L. Alexander

    I read an article a week ago on this story & it was reported that a mother & daughter, youth Pastor, & friend of the mother & daughter were killed. Surely they all weren’t teens? I’m just trying to help correct a possible reporting error in one story or the other.

  • Matthew

    So on the flip side of this, can my kids get away with killing people because they are too underprivileged to care? We can call it “Brokearrhea”

  • Dan

    Barbara you have to be the dumbest person I have ever come acrossed. We are talking about some stolen test and a judgement call on the schools part to not file charges. Filing charges for theft was the school decision not the police officers. This story is talking about the brutal, completely unnessacary and stoppable death of 4 people. FOUR PEOPLE! A mother/wife, 2 daughters, and a father/husband DIED! I think that this is completely different then a couple stolen tests.

  • Max Power

    Edwin Werth, Your first name is Edwin? lol…. I bet you had a rough life, first off, your name is Edwin Werth. Second, it is clear that no one ever shared their answers to a test with you…. So you must of struggled all through life to get to where you are now. Are you and Barbara neighbors? Do you telephone the police together? Are you a Munson? Do you know what a Munson is?
    Or maybe you are both Munson’s as this article has to do with four people that died…not some stolen tests…

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