One of my law professors once told our class: I'd rather be rich and guilty than poor and innocent.
Maybe he was right. In Texas, in the courtroom of Judge Jean Boyd, not only can the wealthy afford top-notch attorneys and experts, they are afforded their very own legal defense. It's called "affluenza."
Ethan Couch is a 16-year-old troubled teen who drove drunk and killed four innocent people. He lost control of his Ford F-350 truck, rolled it and slammed into them as they tried to fix a disabled car on the road's shoulder in a Fort Worth suburb. One of his seven teen passengers was thrown from the truck and permanently paralyzed. He can only communicate by blinking.
Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of 20 years in state custody.
In court, paid experts on Couch's behalf argued he suffered from "affluenza" — a previously made-up diagnosis not even recognized by the American Psychiatric Association — and that his behavior was excused because of how he was raised.
The theory was that Couch was not to blame for his actions because his rich parents gave him too much, never set limits for him, and he never learned consequences for his actions. His parents and his family's wealth were to blame, they argued.
The defense is ridiculous. And the judge's decision — despicable.
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Judge proves money can buy injustice for rich Texas teen