‘Affluenza’ Teen Wants Out of Jail–Again

Photo: Mexico's Jalisco state prosecutorís office via AP

Attorneys for “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch, who tried to get him out of jail last year, recently turned to the Texas Texas Supreme Court for help.

In a motion filed Friday, Couch’s attorneys asserted the presiding judge had no proper authority to sentence Couch, 19, to serve nearly two years behind bars after the case moved from juvenile to adult courts. They argued the judge only had jurisdiction over criminal cases and that juvenile matters are civil, KTVT reported.

This is not the first time Couch’s legal team tried to spring him out of jail. They filed similar motions last year. One argued for Couch’s release on a technicality claiming the teen’s case was improperly sent to adult criminal court when he turned of legal age last April. Lawyers Reagan Wynn and Scott Brown maintained District Judge Wayne Salvant wrongfully jailed Couch as a new condition of the teen’s existing juvenile probation sentence.

Breitbart Texas reported Couch’s case uneventfully transferred automatically from the juvenile to the adult court system on his 19th birthday in April 2016.

Another motion that Wynn and Brown filed requested the court remove Salvant from the case. Breitbart Texas reported Couch’s attorneys again asserted Salvant had no authority to jail Couch. They appealed their claim to administrative Judge David Evans. The motion was denied, but had the lawyers succeeded in removing the judge, it could have lead to Couch’s release from jail.

In late September, Couch’s attorneys also argued if the teen was wrongfully incarcerated, he could sue, as Breitbart Texas reported.

Presently, Couch is coming up on the one-year mark of his adult jail sentence Salvant ordered him to serve, reflecting four 180-day jail terms for each of the four people Couch killed while driving drunk in June 2013.

At the time of the tragic car wreck, Couch was 16-years-old. A high-profile court case ensued in which the defense team, Wynn and Brown, blamed  the teen’s reckless behavior on “affluenza,” an inability to distinguish right from wrong because of a coddled, affluent upbringing. The prosecution sought 20 years in prison but a lenient juvenile judge gave Couch a 10 year probation sentence plus some rehab and counseling.

In late 2015, authorities believed Couch violated the terms of his probation and alleged his mother, Tonya Couch, helped him flee the country. The two vanished, resulting in an international search. Authorities quickly found the pair in Mexico. They were deported back to Texas.

In January 2016, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) created the online petition #FightAffluenza. They sought 30,000 signatures. They got more. Today, more than 51,000 people signed it. Then, MADD delivered the petition to the court juvenile court to make a strong statement.

In response to Couch’s attorneys latest legal maneuver, MADD launched a new petition that already has more than 2,500 signatures. They tweeted a stinging message, headed up by the hashtag #STILLACRIMINAL.

On their website, MADD stated:

Today, Ethan Couch’s attorneys turned to Texas Supreme Court in an attempt to release the offender from jail. Ethan Couch is a criminal and this meritless motion can’t change that.

MADD also called Couch a criminal “when he made the choice to drink and drive underage, killing four people, and injuring others. He was a criminal when he skipped a meeting with his probation officer. And he was a criminal when he fled the country.”

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.


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