No Jail In TX Teen “Affluenza” Case; Defense Assails “Media Circus”


Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager who drove drunk and caused a crash that killed four people last summer, will not have any jail time added to his sentence of 10 years' probation, an extra punishment that prosecutors asked Judge Jean Boyd to impose, reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Boyd declined that request. She ordered Couch, 16, to enter a “lock down” addiction treatment facility and to not drive or use alcohol or drugs for 10 years. She ordered his parents to pay for his treatment. In December, Boyd sentenced Couch to probation on four counts of intoxication manslaughter but did not address two intoxication assault cases against him. At a sentencing hearing yesterday, prosecutors asked her to add jail time on those cases.

Boyd ordered everyone except the immediate families of Couch and his victims to leave the courtroom. Attorneys representing the Star-Telegram and five other media outlets had asked her to let them make a case to stay in the courtroom before closing proceedings regarding Couch. The judge denied that request without explanation. Boyd told the families that her decision had nothing to do with the “affluenza” defense mentioned by a psychologist who testified on Couch's behalf in December. Couch's attorney, Reagan Wynn, said, “The media circus had a direct effect on this case, and I believe it is poison to the criminal justice system.”

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