Thursday, December 12, 2013

Money Can Buy You Tricks, And Some Junk Science To Keep You Out Of The Clink

So in Texas, if you've got lots of money, you can drive drastically drunk, kill 4 people and then get...10 years probation.

The Detroit Free Press: Texas teen's defense in fatal drunken-driving crash: Affluenza

A judge’s decision to give 16-year-old Ethan Couch 10 years of probation for the fatal accident sparked outrage from relatives of those killed and has led to questions about the defense strategy. A psychologist testified in Couch’s trial in a Fort Worth juvenile court that as a result of “affluenza,” the boy should not receive the maximum 20-year prison sentence prosecutors were seeking.

And here I was thinking Wayne County, where a conviction of committing assault with intent to commit murder gets you probation was the definition of messed up.

Texas uses the Daubert standard for expert testimony. It's quite hard to see how a diagnosis of "Affluenza" (in reality the the name of a movie about how spoiling kids rotten leads to bad consequences), which is not a recognized psychological nor psychiatric diagnosis by any means, could pass the Daubert test to be admissible as evidence. Methinks the family's case of "affluenza" bought them the best junk science and "justice" money could buy.

Let's note what 16-year-old Ethan Couch did that night:

Authorities said the teen and friends were seen on surveillance video stealing two cases of beer from a store. He had seven passengers in his Ford F-350, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to trial testimony. His truck slammed into the four pedestrians, killing Brian Jennings, 43, Breanna Mitchell, 24, Shelby Boyles, 21, and her mother, Hollie Boyles, 52.

Texas justice failed, and failed very, very badly this case.


Murphy's Law said...

Gotta respect the surviving husband and father there, Had this happened to my family, some extra-legal justice would be on the way.

ProudHillbilly said...

I'd be curious to see if a bank account attached to the judge expanded suddenly in recent weeks.

Old NFO said...

That it did... so will there be a poorenza defense coming???

Aaron said...

ML: Yep, I do admire his restraint. To have endured the very definition of the unendurable and then to see the murderer walk with a slap on the wrist must be harder than most men could stand.

PH: I'm sure its more subtle than that, but this decision stinks.

Old NFO: That's the old standby "He had a rough childhood and shouldn't be responsible for his crime due to his broken family and society etc, etc, and too underprivileged to know right from wrong" defense. It is quite amazing that having a rich childhood is now an equivalent "too rich to know right from wrong" defense.

Spikessib said...

Well, since the excuse (supplied and paid for by his parents)is that his parents failed to do thier job and teach him responsibility it would be nice if they should be held responsible for the outcome and tried for murder. Too bad the legal system doesn't allow for that. In lieu of that result, I'm with ML. And it may yet happen once the case is no longer in the eye of the press.