Ethan Couch, Texas teen in 'affluenza' DUI case, gets rehab, not jail

By Daniel S Levine,

Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager who has been convicted of killing four people while driving drunk last June, already sparked controversy when he was sentenced to just 10 years of probation. Now, the judge has ordered him to go to a rehab facility and he will serve no jail time.

Couch’s attorneys called a psychologist to testify who said he suffered from “affluenza," claiming that he was brought up in a home where he had been allowed to drink at a young age and blaming his upbringing for his actions. State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced him to only 10 years of probation in December.

That angered the families’ victims and caused an uproar nationwide. Prosecutors even said that they would try to get the 16-year-old behind bars for his actions. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors were seeking 20 years for other charges he faced for injuring two others during the crash.

Following a closed hearing on Wednesday, defense attorney Reagan Wynn and prosecutors told the press Boyd decided that Couch will not go to jail. Instead, he’s being sent to a rehab facility. They did not say where he would go, but the AP notes that his family previously suggested a facility in Newport Beach, California.

According to CNN, Wynn said that Boyd didn’t make her decision based on “affluenza,” explaining, “She heard all the evidence and she made what she thought was the appropriate disposition.”

The decision still angered Eric Boyles, whose wife and daughter were two of the victims. “Had [Couch] not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different,” Boyles said, notes CNN.

The accident happened in Burleson, Texas. The victims were pedestrians Couch hit with his truck after he hit a parked car. One person in his truck suffered brain injuries and can’t move or talk, while the other person injured suffered broken bones. Prosecutors said that Couch had a 0.24 blood alcohol level at the time.

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