A 16-year-old Texas teenager is learning how to take responsibility the “hard” way. Thanks to the hardcore punishment system that is the Texas justice system, Mr. Ethan Couch was sentenced to 10 years probation for killing four people and seriously injuring two others during a drunk driving accident in June.
From the Star-Telegram:
The 16-year-old pleaded guilty last week to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury. Killed were Breanna Mitchell of Lillian, whose car broke down the night of June 15 on Burleson-Retta Road; Hollie and Shelby Boyles, who lived nearby and had come outside to help Mitchell; and Burleson youth minister Brian Jennings, a passer-by who had also stopped to help.
The teen admitted to being drunk when he lost control of his pickup. He had seven passengers in his Ford F-350, was speeding, had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, plus traces of Valium in his system, according to earlier testimony.
Mr. Couch reportedly had a BAC of .24% at the time of the accident. Now, how did this 16-year-old get his hands on enough beer to get that drunk?? According to reports, he and his friends used the old “Five Finger Discount Card” at a nearby Wal-Mart. Along with the four killed, Couch also severely injured two of his friends that were riding in his truck with him. One of them can now only communicate with people by blinking his eye.
Now, as for that hardcore punishment, Mr. Couch was sentenced to 10 years probation, counseling, and rehab. That’s it. No jail time. No tour of jail. No drive by the jailhouse on his way home. Nothing. His defense, which appears to have been bought by the judge, was that he was not responsible for his behavior because of his upbringing. According to a psychologist that examined Couch:
His parents had a volatile and co-dependent relationship, and had a contentious divorce, said Gary Miller, who began evaluating the teen on the day he was released from a hospital after the wreck.
The parents argued often, which the teen witnessed, Miller said.
The teen’s father “does not have relationships, he takes hostages,” Miller said. Miller described the mother as a desperate woman who used her son as a tool to get her husband to act the way she wanted.
The mother gave the teen things, Miller said. “Her mantra was that if it feels good, do it,” Miller said.
The teen’s intellectual age was 18, but his emotional age was 12, Miller told Boyd.
“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone,” Miller said. “If you hurt someone, you sent him money.”
As a child, he had to make adult decisions, Miller said. He had a motorcycle when he was 4 or 5 and was driving large pickups at 13, Miller said. The teen was a high school graduate at 16, but could not say where he went to school, where he went to church and had no friends, Miller said.
His parents never taught him the things that good parents teach children, Miller said.
“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” Miller said. “He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”
Basically, if you’re a spoiled, rich kid, you don’t go to jail when you commit crimes because of your upbringing. You were not taught responsibility or how to handle yourself as an adult.
That’s 100% pure hot and steamy bovine fecal matter (*NSFW image), if you ask me. If the shoe were on the other foot with some poor kid who wasn’t raised right, that poor kid would be sitting in jail right now instead of getting probation. We see it play out every day in real life.
So, to teach responsibility to someone who’s had everything given to him and never had to make adult decisions, the judge lets him walk on killing four people in an accident. The kid stole beer (shoplifting), got drunk (contributing to the delinquency of a minor), hit a stalled vehicle while drunk (DUI), and killed four people (murder/manslaughter). Breaking all those laws in one single act nets a 10 year probation sentence with a shot at going to a high-end treatment center in California?
I guess it’s all in who you are nowadays or who you’re connected to. I honestly don’t see a poor kid in this same situation getting the same sentence. It may be the cynic in me, but based on past performance, justice has not been meted out in this manner for those without means.
- Texas teen kills four in drunken crash but gets probation after parents’ wealth blamed (rawstory.com)
- Teen sentenced to 10 years probation, rehab in 4 deaths (star-telegram.com)
- Teen gets probation for DWI crash that killed 4 in Burleson (crimeblog.dallasnews.com)
- Defense pushes for intensive therapy for teen in drunken crash that killed 4 (wfaa.com)
- Teen defendant got ticket for being drunk 4 months before fatal crash (star-telegram.com)
- Deadly Drunk Driving Probation Sentence Leaves Families Stunned (dfw.cbslocal.com)