Tried in juvenile court, Couch wasn’t sent to prison. Instead, Judge Jean Boyd assigned a sentence of 10 years’ probation during which Couch is not to consume adult beverages.
What’s most memorable and perhaps outrageous about Couch’s trial and sentence is the argument of an “expert” psychologist and Couch’s lawyers prevailed that swayed Judge Boyd.
What did they argue? Young Ethan Couch suffered from “affluenza.”
What’s that? It was argued that affluenza is a mental condition whereby the enormous wealth of Couch’s family blinded young Ethan from being responsible for his actions and their associated consequences.
Note: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States—does not list affluenza as a mental disorder.
But, for Judge Boyd, Couch was the product of a dysfunctional and abusive family because his parents condoned drug and alcohol use and never set boundaries. She believed the then-16-year-old could be rehabilitated if he was separated from his family and provided the correct treatment. Thus, Judge Boyd assigned Couch to probation and he was provided treatment at an expensive California rehab clinic.
A D Magazine article reports about a deposition of Miller for a subsequent civil suit:
...after spending more than 50 hours with the Couches, he thought the family was “profoundly dysfunctional.” He said it was clear that Fred and Tonya gave Ethan incredible freedoms, with no regard for the law, and that his abuse of alcohol and drugs had escalated for years. Miller testified that instead of the golden rule, Ethan was taught: “We have the gold, we make the rules.” He said he thought Ethan probably has an anxiety disorder he inherited from Fred. “Fred is either an asshole—aggressive, loud, pushy—or he’s frightened.” And he made it clear that both parents were complicit in enabling the boy: “Dad was addicted to mother, and mother is addicted to the kid.”
Likewise, both parents said they missed, in the words of Tonya, “big red flags.” The mother said she always left the disciplining up to the father. Sometimes Fred would take away something of Ethan’s as punishment—a video-game system or, later, a truck. But when that happened, Tonya would often give it back, or Ethan would play them off of each other. Most of the time, though, Ethan felt no consequences for his behavior.
A short video clip posted on Twitter was sent to media outlets and local law enforcement agencies. Allegedly, Couch is present at a party where the entertainment de jour was beer pong. (To view the video, click on the image below and scroll down the page to the Twitter video.). The post includes the caption, “ya boy ethan couch violating probation. i got more if u want.”
If the allegations are found to be true, The Motley Monk wonders what Dr. Miller and his lawyers will argue this time around?
Let the discussion begin...
To read about the entire Couch situation, click on the following link:
To read about Couch's latest potential brush with the law, click on the following link: