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Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch is a rich brat who should be sitting in a Texas prison for driving drunk and killing four pedestrians.

But he’s not. Today, Couch is free to walk the streets, perhaps drink alcohol if he feels like it – and maybe  even drive a car again one day.

Poor Ethan Couch suffers from  “affluenza,” according to one psychologist, a preposterous social condition that suggests wealthy young adults have a sense of entitlement and explain away bad behavior because their spoiled upbringing makes it impossible for them to distinguish right from wrong.

It’s a complete sham, most sane people agree, but one misguided judge decided that Couch does have “affluenza” and ruled that Couch will serve 10 years of probation instead of jail.

The “affluenza” court argument is not only one of the most ridiculous debates in judicial history, but it sets a dangerous precedent for the legal system moving forward.

How many more rich white young adults will get into serious trouble – possibly kill someone else – and blame their spoiled lifestyles on “affluenza” for their crimes?

When did it become socially acceptable – and legally permissible — to kill someone and not take responsibility for the crime because of a wealthy background?

The grieving relatives of the four people that Couch killed are understandably outraged and are suing Couch’s wealthy family.

Eric Boyles lost his wife Hollie, 52, and daughter Shelby, 21, in the crash. The Boyles family is seeking $1 million in damages from the brat, his father and the family’s business. Sergio Molina, 16, was thrown from the back of Ethan Couch’s truck and is now paralyzed and unable to speak. His family is seeking the highest compensation of the five — a $20 million payout.

“Let’s face it. … There needs to be some justice here,” Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter, told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Wednesday night.

“For 25 weeks, I’ve been going through a healing process. And so when the verdict came out, I mean, my immediate reaction is — I’m back to week 1. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window,” he said.

The term “affluenza” was created in the late 1990s by Jessie O’Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.”

But other legal experts correctly testified that “affluenza” is not is not a recognized diagnosis and should not be used to justify bad behavior.

Couch was pumped with liquor and Valium and lost control of his speeding Ford F-350 pickup when he crashed into a broken-down car. But I guess that wasn’t enough to convince the court of his criminal behavior.

District Judge Jean Boyd issued his sentence after Couch “admitted his guilt.” And Couch’s parents say they will pay for a $450,000-a-year treatment and rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif.

For Couch, life on easy street continues.

But Texas prosecutors are trying again to put Couch behind bars after he was sentenced last week to 10 years’ probation. Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon is asking a juvenile judge to put 16-year-old Ethan Couch in jail on two cases of intoxication assault that he says are still pending before the court.

“During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault,” Shannon told reporters. “There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict.”

Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising, told reporters that Couch must take responsibility for his behavior.

“The simple term would be spoiled brat,” Buffone said.

“Essentially what he (the judge) has done is slapped this child on the wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be responsible for in any other situation,” Buffone said. “The defense is laughable, the disposition is horrifying … not only haven’t the parents set any consequences, but it’s being reinforced by the judge’s actions.”

Buffone is right.

I only hope that “affluenza” doesn’t begin to spread through wealthy suburban communities like a virus.

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25 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Ridiculous Affluenza Defense Sets Dangerous Precedent

  1. JanCorey on said:

    Bluerunts, I agree that you are a troll and should be trolling elsewhere, but thanks for proving my points that uneducated and uninformed individuals like you will end up in Hell because of your insistence to remain gay. I, however, will remain of the side of Justice and facts.

  2. Jermaine on said:

    We are witnessing White Supremacy/Racism unfold right before our very eyes. Just like ‘Jesus’, white people have again CREATED something that only benefits them.

  3. hotlanta on said:

    The phrase was coined fir the Columbine kids. The media didn’t label them thugs or monsters for the Columbine crimes. The media didn’t even release the parents names, jobs or nothing. Gave them complete privacy and they still get it to this day.

  4. This is another way that white people get away with stuff, make something up. This decision should be protested. Why do these people keep getting away with such terrible things. Send his ass to jail where he belong. They still send people away who have mental problems. Poor peoples defense.

  5. Ivan Cohen on said:

    Given the blow back that this case has gotten, I cannot envision too many others with financial means falling over themselves to piggy back on Affluenza as a defense. A jury might sentence a similar defendant to the insane asylum.

  6. Jermaine on said:

    Rich non whites who ‘accidentally’ kill whites will still await a remedy called Jail. You can believe that.This is a classic example of one race exerting its power over all others. This is definitive of what ‘Racism’ is. Whites have now ‘created’ a new disease to benefit them.

  7. tewdee Q on said:

    The rich white, “affluenzaic” become more wicked with every passing day. Probation, jail-time, whatever, I truly hope that this “virus”, apparently deadly only to those only crossing paths with them, but not the affluent themselves will be stamped out when each and every one of the families sue the shirts off their backs. Actually, this should be a CLASS action lawsuit, as it is an insult to everyone of a class of people who would not be allowed such a defense.

    • JanCorey on said:

      He’d just got buy another pair. I think he needs a more thorough treatment approach where he loses his freedom in the public forever.

  8. JanCorey on said:

    An Affluenza-Defense would only be due-able for a white defendant as a great education is needed in the supplementary-evidence as well in order to succeed.

    • Or when a sitting judge is about retire with a nice, fat paycheck paid by the parents of a delinquent who we will no doubt see again, Perhaps after he mows down the judge and her family, after a few celebratory no jail time cocktails. Idiot.

      • JanCorey on said:

        I agree with you Kay that you appear to be the idiot. You can do so much better than that imo.

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