Affluenza, the defense successfully used in a case of a teen from a privileged family who killed four people in a drunk driving accident, is met with outrage today. Attorneys for Texas teen Ethan Couch used the affluenza defense to take the blame away from this 16-year-old kid and put it on his parents, who spoiled him rotten by never setting limits for him, according to CNN on Dec. 12.
In other words, Couch’s choice of driving drunk was not his fault. He is the victim of wealthy, privilege parents who basically let him do what he wished. Having no guidelines growing up, he apparently caught a serious case of affluenza. Lucky for him, this bizarre new condition was seen as realistic and it awarded him a pass from going to jail after killing these four innocent people.
His sentence for his affluenza causing the death of four people in no jail time, just 10 years of probation. The Judge is also going to find him a long-term treatment facility. (Hopefully one well in tune with affluenza.)
Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash that Couch caused, talked with Anderson Cooper on CNN. Boyles, like most people, was stunned at this defense and even more stunned that it worked. He said to Cooper:
"There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day. The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can't buy justice in this country."
Affluenza is not listed in the DSM, which is the manual used in diagnosing mental illnesses. The defense of affluenza just opened a can of worms. Not only is it strengthening the belief that money is a big part of the justice system, but it gives other teens like Couch a free-pass. It is a get-out-of-jail-free card for this deviant behavior. This just sent a message that there’s no consequences for such a horrific act.
Couch and friends had stolen beer from a local Walmart back in June. He is not of legal drinking age, but his blood alcohol level was 0.24, which is three times the legal limit for someone of legal age. Couch got in his pickup with two friends in the bed of the truck. He plowed into a mother and daughter, who were helping a friend who had a flat tire. He also hit a youth pastor who just happened to stop to help.
Couch also hit a parked car, pushing it into on-coming traffic and that car was hit by drivers coming the opposite direction. Besides killing four people, the two friends in Couch’s pickup bed were seriously injured. This defense of affluenza has seemingly denounced Couch of any wrong-doing and instead claiming that his actions were the result of his up-bringing.