Affluenza: Too Rich to Be Punished, a Teen Gets Away with Murder…Literally

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A 16 year old boy from a wealthy Texas family was driving drunk when he crashed into four people standing at the side of the road with a disabled vehicle. Four of his own passengers were thrown from the vehicle, one of whom suffered a brain injury and can no longer move or speak.

Authorities have said the teen and friends were seen on surveillance video stealing two cases of beer from a store. He had seven passengers in his Ford F-350 pickup, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to trial testimony. His truck slammed into four people standing near a disabled car on Burleson-Retta Road, killing Brian Jennings, 43, Breanna Mitchell, 24, Shelby Boyles, 21, and her mother, Hollie Boyles, 52. (source)

According to the courts, however, it wasn’t really Ethan Couch’s fault.  He can’t help it that he suffers from a condition called “affluenza”.

You read that right – “affluenza”.  It sounds like some kind of contagious disease, but in reality, it is an excuse for horrendous behavior.

It means that because Ethan grew up rich, he is not responsible for his own actions.

[Psychologist Dr. G. Dick ] Miller said Couch’s parents gave him “freedoms no young person should have.” He called Couch a product of “affluenza,” where his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.

He said Couch got whatever he wanted. As an example, Miller said Couch’s parents gave no punishment after police ticketed the then-15-year-old when he was found in a parked pickup with a passed-out and undressed 14-year-old girl.

Miller also pointed out that Couch was allowed to drive at age 13. He said the teen was emotionally flat and needed years of therapy. (source)

Despite the fact that Ethan Couch pleaded guilty to drunk driving and manslaughter, he will serve no jail time.


He will be on probation for 10 years.

Through his spoiled, irresponsible actions, he caused the death of 4 people and altered irrevocably the life of another person.

Wealth is not a mental illness. Plenty of children grow up with families who have money and are raised in loving homes, with limits on their behavior.  This is nothing more than an excuse for dreadful parenting and a way to let the rich live by a different set of rules than the rest of us.

Dr. Gary Buffone, a psychologist from Jacksonville, Fla. who deals with wealthy families says that “affluenza” is not meant to be a defense.

“The simple term would be spoiled brat,” he said.

“Essentially what he (the judge) has done is slapped this child on the wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be responsible for in any other situation,” Buffone said. “The defense is laughable, the disposition is horrifying … not only haven’t the parents set any consequences, but it’s being reinforced by the judge’s actions.” (source)

Money buys justice in America, apparently. If you are wealthy enough, there are no consequences to your actions, no matter what the harm to others who are less wealthy. The financially elite have a different set of rules than the rest of us and clearly, the laws just don’t apply to them.

The families of Ethan’s victims are outraged by the slap on the wrist that the careless teenager received.

Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter, said the family’s wealth helped the teen avoid incarceration.

“Money always seems to keep you out of trouble,” Boyles said. “Ultimately today, I felt that money did prevail. If you had been any other youth, I feel like the circumstances would have been different.”

The defense team recommended a long probationary term at a rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif., with the teen’s parents picking up the tab of more than $450,000 a year for treatment.

Shaunna Jennings, the widow of the minister killed in the accident, said her family had forgiven the teen but still believed a sterner punishment was needed.

“You lived a life of privilege and entitlement, and my prayer is that it does not get you out of this,” she said. “My fear is that it will get you out of this.” (source)

Ethan can now return to his swanky lifestyle.  He can enjoy Christmas with his loved ones. He can unwrap expensive presents in front of a fancy tree.  He can enjoy a catered feast.

Here are the victims of Ethan Couch.  They will not be celebrating Christmas this year.

victims couch

The families of Couch’s victims have a sad holiday ahead of them.  They’ll be mourning the loss of their spouses, parents, and children this year, probably in much more humble surroundings than that in which the Couch family Christmas will take place.  There will be empty seats at their dinner table and empty places in their hearts.

All because one spoiled boy’s family couldn’t say no to him and because a judge believes that being rich is an excuse to let someone get away with murder.

Originally published at The Daily Sheeple

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • At the same time, throwing him in prison would have only been beneficial to the prison industrial complex, while burdening the taxpayers. What good would it do for the victims or their families?
    Is that the paradox of the desire for revenge?

    There is no good outcome.

    He will likely be shunned by his friends and those around him, so he didn’t get off scot free, imho.

    Revenge is not a good path to follow.

    What do you think of this solution?:

    “In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a man who killed another would be responsible for the deceased’s widow, children, bills, etc. for life. If he didn’t honor those responsibilities, no one would hire him, sell to him, serve him food, or clean his boots. It would become a virtual death sentence, not by execution by the state, but by ostracism — the near impossibility of living in our modern world without any transactions of any kind with other people.” …

    I think that’s similar to how it was done in the old West with good results:

    The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality

  • There is a difference between revenge and punishment. Shunning? This ‘trial’ proves that a judge can be bought. This kid can wave money in the air and fools will flock to him.

    These pathetic people smugly take unlimited money out of their wallets to get free passes. Let’s see them take ‘time’ out of their wallets. I’d start with a minimum mandatory 10 year jail sentence for Ethan Couch, his mother, his father, and the judge.

  • Pshaw….just proves judges can be bought, but also that the rich let their kids run wild…And the pharmaceutical companies were behind the incredible rise in numbers of diagoses of ADHD…

    It’s this kind of crap that perpetuates the idea that parents don’t need to be responsible in teaching their kids, or for what their kids do.

    I had a truant child (no, I wasn’t able to home school) who kept getting into trouble. I put her into Juvie…it took a little bit, but she learned her lesson, and this child now calls me every day and tells me how much she loves me or stops by when she is in town (living w/dad currently).

    Prison likely would only benefit the system as mentioned previously, but boy he sure would be a changed kid!The posh rehab his family is sending him to isn’t going to make a dang difference.

    • If this punk did this to MY family he’d have a whole different outlook on life after I’d finished with him AND his parents. Plus I’d reserve some SPECIAL treatment for this CROOKED judge

  • Just a sad state of affairs. Apparently the judge isn’t smart enough to know, this sentence just reinforces the years of programming this kid received from his parents, that if you have enough money, you don’t have to pay the proper consequences for your actions. All he’ll learn from it, is what he’s been learning. Can’t they see that.

    The only possible defense they could’ve presented, which would actually have some credence, is this boy is mentally retarded. Seriously. He just didn’t have the reasoning ability to reason that if he was feeling drunk and high on valium, he shouldn’t be commandeering a vehicle. He simply didn’t have the mental capacity for that type of reasoning, it’s not his fault. That’s the only thing that would’ve justified such a lenient sentence.

    But the fact is, he wasn’t that dumb, of course he could’ve reasoned that, he just chose to do it anyways. He didn’t care. And even if he was taught that there are no proper consequences for actions, that doesn’t justify that decision as being any less irresponsible. Fact is, his irresponsible choice killed 4 people, made another person a vegetable, and he needs to pay the proper consequences for that.

    Ironically, being in prison would teach him that lesson much more thoroughly than simply going to a lush rehab clinic where counselors will baby him. Apparently the judge can’t understand that. Or more likely, the judge had a nice pay off from the family.

  • That judge should be serving time for his stupid decision with literraly a slap on the wrist. His parents should be imprisoned also for raising such an irresponsible child. U must be real proud of him.!! Sounds like u two didn’t want any responsibility for raising a child. I hope u all have nightmares for the rest of your worthless lives.

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