Judge Orders Teen with ‘Affluenza’ to Rehab

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Ethan Couch (Photo Credit: WFAA Video Clip via CNN)

(CNN) — A judge on Wednesday ordered that Ethan Couch — who drove drunk and caused a crash, killing four people and injuring two — go to a lock-down residential treatment facility.

State District Judge Jean Boyd had already decided the Texas teenager would serve no jail time. He was sentenced last year to 10 years’ probation.

His story made national headlines after a witness claimed Couch was a victim of “affluenza” — the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy.

That particular defense, however, played no part in the judge’s decision, Couch’s lawyer told reporters on Wednesday. Court proceedings were closed to the public.

“She (Boyd) said it (affluenza), and specifically mentioned that that was not a basis for her decision,” said attorney Reagan Wynn. “She heard all the evidence and she made what she thought was the appropriate disposition.”

The judge ordered that Couch’s parents pay for the treatment facility, which was not identified. It was also unclear how long Couch might stay there.

As part of his probation, the teen must refrain from using drugs or alcohol. He will also not be allowed to drive. If Couch violates the terms of his probation, he could face up to 10 years behind bars.

“I think he can be rehabilitated given intensive therapy and I hope that he gets it,” Wynn said about the teen. “The juvenile system is about rehabilitation and if it’s going to be about rehabilitation, she (Boyd) absolutely made the right decision.”

Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, disagrees.

He told reporters he has no doubt that money played a role in the case.

“Had he (Couch) not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different,” he said Wednesday after the proceedings.

Last June, his wife, Hollie Boyles, and daughter, Shelby, left their home to help Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down. Brian Jennings, a youth pastor, was driving past and also stopped to help.

All four were killed when the teen’s pickup plowed into the pedestrians on a road in Burleson, south of Fort Worth. Couch’s vehicle also struck a parked car, which then slid into another vehicle headed in the opposite direction.

Two people riding in the bed of the teen’s pickup were tossed in the crash and severely injured. One is no longer able to move or talk because of a brain injury, while the other suffered internal injuries and broken bones.

According to prosecutors, three hours after the crash, tests showed Couch had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit.

“There has been nothing from Ethan from these proceedings with regards to remorse on his part at all — that I do think would have helped. It would have helped the victims. No doubt about it, it would have helped,” said Boyles.

Prosecutors were similarly disappointed with the judge’s decision.

They had asked for the maximum of 20 years behind bars.

“This has been a very frustrating experience for me,” said prosecutor Richard Alpert. “I’m used to a system where the victims have a voice and their needs are strongly considered. The way the system down here is currently handled, the way the law is, almost all the focus is on the offender.”

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23 comments

  • Jujubean

    Seriously what is wrong with the judge? Did daddy give him $$$ this kid should be hanging by his neck from the highest flag pole.

  • barb

    if this kid wasnt from money he would be in jail where he belongs, God bless those lives he destroyed and got away with

  • Tor

    I didn’t agree the first time and i won’t agree now!!!! If the kid was big enough to be drinking then he should be big enough for BIG BOY JAIL!!! And everyone is messing with Justin Bieber( i do not like him either)but he didn’t kill 4 people and injure 2!!!! Please people just letting this kid go and gain allow the parents to continue bailing him out he’ll just do it again!!! Anybody else would be on death row or in prison for the rest of their lives!!!

  • kathie

    Maybe a good PUBLIC spanking would help to set him straight? He could be sentenced to one spanking every week for a year. Sounds like a solution to me — better than that judge anyhow.

  • KS

    I can’t believe that you can make the horrible decision to drive drunk, kill people, then walk away free to live your life? Where is the justice for the victims?

  • Deborah

    The parents are wealthy?? So he will end up in rehab through the court. What is wrong with that whole picture. If any one of us had done the same thing our butts would have been in jail a long time ago! If he is suffering from Affluenza, then where is the prove from a doctor or mental health professional?

    • Eric

      Unfortunately his Mental Health Professional was his “expert witness” in his original trial. This quack coined the term “affluenza” and is probably going to make a fortune on the book and offering more affluenza “expert testimony” to any other fat cat that can afford his fee!

  • BasicCitzen

    Affluenza = “poor” parenting from “rich” people.

    Raise your kids right, so the Judicial System doesn’t have to!

  • Debbie Hitt

    ok, if they do this then why can’t poor kids that grew up with prostitute mothers or people doing drugs and drinking all around them, they should get off too, right? It was the way they were raised. If we use this excuse, hundreds of thousands would get away with murder! This is rediculous! You mean to tell me he didn’t know right from wrong?

  • Eric

    This is now the rich, spoiled brat’s “Get outta jail free” card. The fact that he shows no remorse for his actions is the key to his defense. If he showed any, then it would mean that he was aware of his actions and the consequences and repercussions.
    Sounds like he and his parents need to be “rehabilitated” from their wealth, so that can ALL learn what it’s like to be human beings and functioning members of society.

  • Melissa Hobbs

    Ok if he suffers from “affluenza” then the parents should be held responsible for his actions. Put the parents in jail for allowing their so to drink and drive and killing inocent people.

  • Aj

    So what you’re saying is that we can all drive drunk as long as we claim “affluenza” as a reason? No wonder every country hates us. Seriously is out government/officials that stupid? Let’s release Charles Manson while we’re at it

  • dana

    This is so terribly sad, not to mention a very poor decision.
    I wonder if the judge has a family and how much would their life be worth.
    If that was the spouse and child of the judge, would this slap on the hand be sufficient? —I somehow doubt it.

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