‘Affluenza’ and the Miscarriage of Justice

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  • The justice system. We often like to think that in a great democracy like ours, we are all equal under the law no matter what our personal or financial background. The reality is, that while we may have a right to an attorney and a day in court, our judicial system is far from perfect. Too often, those with money and power can avert harsh sentences, while the poor find themselves receiving maximum time and penalties. This aspect of economic inequality — one where a 16-year-old teenager can drive drunk, kill four people and receive no jail time because he allegedly suffered from ‘affluenza’ — is one of our greatest remaining challenges. Financial disparity within our judicial system isn’t a notion of the past; it is ever present today. And perhaps nothing serves as more of a stirring reminder of this grave injustice than the very case of this teen, Ethan Couch, who has forever shattered the lives of many and received nothing but a virtual slap on the wrist.

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