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Texas Teen Ethan Couch May Get Three Years in Prison, Despite "Affluenza" Defense; Parents Named in Lawsuits

( [email protected] ) Dec 18, 2013 05:39 PM EST
Five civil lawsuits have been filed against Ethan Couch for the accident he caused in June which resulted in four strangers' deaths and severe injuries to some of his friends. The sixteen-year-old avoided jail time for charges of intoxication manslaughter.
Ethan Couch

Five civil lawsuits have been filed against Ethan Couch for the accident he caused in June which resulted in four strangers' deaths and severe injuries to some of his friends. The sixteen-year-old avoided jail time for charges of intoxication manslaughter - perhaps due to the defense's argument that he suffered from "affluenza" - but could potentially be faced with three years of juvenile detention for the two counts of intoxicated assault that he plead guilty to during his trial.

Judge Jean Boyd recently sentenced Ethan Couch to ten years of probation, where Ethan will likely spend time in a Californian rehabilitation center, for killing four people who were helping to fix a flat tire. According to Radar Online, Couch had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit and also tested positive for Valium after the crash. The teen had been drinking and driving with seven of his friends in his father's company vehicle, and had reportedly been charged with a Minor in Possession and for excessive speeding in the past. Couch's parents, along with the family business whose F-350 truck Ethan was driving that night, are being named in the lawsuits.

Couch plead guilty to the intoxication manslaughter of youth pastor Brian Jennings, mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, and 24-year-old Brianna Mitchell. He also plead guilty to two counts of intoxication assault against two of his teenage friends who were severely injured during the crash. One fifteen-year-old boy who was in the bed of Couch's pick-up truck can no longer speak or move because of the trauma he sustained to his brain. The teen could potentially face three years in a juvenile detention center for intoxication assault charges.

Judge Boyd may be presiding over the case for Ethan's intoxication assault charges as well. The three families who have lost their loved ones, along with numerous other Americans, are in disbelief over the sentence that Judge Boyd had given the teen for manslaughter. Others say that the sentence was appropriate, as the goal of the United States juvenile justice system should be to correct bad behavior. Hopefully the judge presiding over Ethan's second case will be able to make an objective ruling, despite the enormous controversy that has erupted over the young man's probation.