Lawyers for Texas 'affluenza' teen seek
his release from jail
Send a link to a friend
[September 01, 2016]
By Marice Richter
FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - Lawyers for
the Texas "affluenza" teenager who killed four people while driving
drunk are seeking to have him released from a two-year jail term,
arguing the judge who sentenced him had no authority to place him behind
The attorneys for Ethan Couch claimed in a motion filed late on Tuesday
that Tarrant County Judge Wayne Salvant should not have sentenced Couch
because the case became a civil matter, and not a criminal one, when it
was transferred to the judge from the juvenile system.
Due to a gag order imposed by the judge, the defense lawyers,
prosecutors and the judge did not offer comment on the motion.
"All orders, judgments, conditions of probation and/or other decrees
entered or imposed by this court are void and must be immediately
rescinded," the motion released on Wednesday states.
Couch was 16 and had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit
of an adult when he struck and killed four people in June 2013.
At his trial in juvenile court that year, a psychologist testifying on
his behalf said Couch suffered from "affluenza," an affliction coming
from being spoiled by his parents which prevented him from telling right
Couch was found guilty of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 10
years of probation in the juvenile system, a penalty that sparked
outrage from critics who ridiculed the affluenza defense and said his
family's wealth had helped keep him out of jail.
Last winter, Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled to a Mexican resort
town after a video went viral on social media showing him attending a
party where alcohol was being consumed, an apparent violation of his
The two were arrested and returned to Tarrant County, in Texas.
[to top of second column]
Ethan Couch, the so-called "affluenza" teen, is brought into court
for his adult court hearing at Tim Curry Justice Center in Fort
Worth, Texas, United States on April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Max
Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Pool/File Photo
Couch's probation supervision was transferred to the adult system in
April when he turned 19. As a condition of the adult probation,
Salvant ordered him to serve 720 days in jail, 180 days for each of
the four crash fatalities.
Tonya Couch was indicted by a grand jury in May on charges of money
laundering and hindering apprehension of her fugitive son. She was
released on bond and placed under house confinement.
Her curfew was eased in June so she could get a job. She has been
working at a Fort Worth-area honky-tonk bar, according to attorney
(Reporting by Marice Richter; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.