‘Affluenza’ Teen Back in Court to Learn Terms of Probation
Ethan Couch, 15, was sentenced to 10 years of probation after he pleaded guilty to intoxicated manslaughter. Couch’s blood alcohol content was three times over the legal limit when he crashed his car, killing four people.
Some of the victims’ relatives have since filed civil lawsuits.
The case has drawn a lot of attention and outrage from the public based on the “affluenza” defense. Most states require jail time for death by automobile.
“The lawyer came up with a novel theory about why his client was not responsible for his behavior, his parents spoiled him,” Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Shepard Smith Reporting.
“No court in the United States of America has accepted that [defense], and candidly, Shep, this court should not have accepted it until there’s a substantial body of scientific evidence to support that, and there’s not.”
The judge did not allow media into the courtroom. In Texas, if the accused is 14 or up, the courts are supposed to be open to the public.
Napolitano said the public has a right to have press in the courtroom and called the judge’s decision “a profound and utter defiant violation of the First Amendment.”