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Texas teen Ethan Couch avoided jail time for a horrific drunken driving crash that killed four people after his attorneys said he was a product of "affluenza," or a privileged upbringing.
Come from a rich family and need to get out of a scrape with the law?
Try the "affluenza" defense.
That's what attorneys for Texas teen Ethan Couch did, telling a judge the wealthy 16-year-old responsible for the deaths of four people didn't know right from wrong because of his privileged upbringing -- a condition psychologists called "affluenza."
Instead of jail time, Couch got 10 years of probation for driving drunk and killing four pedestrians in June.
Prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” psychologist Gary Miller testified in explaining Couch's "condition." “He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”
The sentence outraged the families of the victims and sparked fierce debates on social media.
“Money always seems to keep you out of trouble,” said Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash south of Fort Worth. “Ultimately today, I felt that money did prevail. If you had been any other youth, I feel like the circumstances would have been different.”
Scott Brown, the boy's lead defense attorney, said Couch could have been freed after two years it he had been given the 20-year jail sentence.
Instead, the judge “fashioned a sentence that could have him under the thumb of the justice system for the next 10 years,” he told the Star-Telegram.