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    Angry "Affluenza Defense"

    Did you hear the story about the wealthy Texas teen who killed four people and got probation? These are Ethan Couch's victims. His legal defense for killing them was that he's a spoiled brat. Look up the "Affluenza" defense. It's pretty sad. ‪#‎Affluenza



    Affluenza Defense: Rich Texas Teen Gets Probation For Killing 4 Pedestrians While Driving Drunk

    FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A North Texas teen from an affluent family was sentenced to probation this week after he killed four pedestrians when he lost control of his speeding pickup truck while driving drunk, a punishment that outraged the victims' families and left prosecutors disappointed.

    The 16-year-old boy was sentenced Tuesday in a Fort Worth juvenile court to 10 years of probation after he confessed to intoxication manslaughter in the June 15 crash on a dark rural road.

    Prosecutors had sought the maximum 20 years in state custody for the Keller teen, but his attorneys appealed to state District Judge Jean Boyd that the teenager needed rehabilitation not prison, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (http://bit.ly/1f8GnvQ ) reported.

    If the boy continues to be cushioned by his family's wealth, another tragedy is inevitable, prosecutor Richard Alpert said in court. "There can be no doubt that he will be in another courthouse one day blaming the lenient treatment he received here," Alpert said.

    Authorities 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, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to testimony during the trial. His pickup truck slammed into the four pedestrians, killing Brian Jennings, a 43-year-old Burleson youth minister; Breanna Mitchell of Lillian, 24; Shelby Boyles, 21; and her 52-year-old mother, Hollie Boyles.

    Boyd said the programs available in the Texas juvenile justice system may not provide the kind of intensive therapy the teen could receive at a rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif., that was suggested by his defense attorneys. The parents would pick up the tab for the center, at a cost of more than $450,000 a year for treatment.

    Scott Brown, the boy's lead defense attorney, said he could have been freed after two years if he had drawn the 20-year sentence. But 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.

    Relatives of those killed in the accident drew little comfort from that assurance.

    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."

    Shaunna Jennings, the minister's widow, said her family had forgiven the teen but 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."

    A psychologist called as an expert defense witness said the boy suffered from "affluenza," growing up in a house where the parents were preoccupied with arguments that led to a divorce.

    The father "does not have relationships, he takes hostages," psychologist Gary Miller said, and the mother was indulgent. "Her mantra was that if it feels good, do it," he said.

    ___

    Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4430807.html

    ...

    'Affluenza' doesn't justify teen's behavior in fatal crash, psychologists say
    By Ramit Plushnick-Masti, The Associated Press

    HOUSTON — "Affluenza," the affliction cited by a psychologist to argue that a North Texas teenager from a wealthy family should not be sent to prison for killing four pedestrians while driving drunk, is not a recognized diagnosis and should not be used to justify bad behavior, experts said Thursday.

    A judge's decision to give 16-year-old Ethan Couch 10 years of probation for the fatal accident sparked outrage from relatives of those killed and has led to questions about the defense strategy. A psychologist testified in Couch's trial in a Fort Worth juvenile court that as a result of "affluenza," the boy should not receive the maximum 20-year prison sentence prosecutors were seeking.

    The term "affluenza" was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O'Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence." It has since been used to describe a condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol, explained Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising. But Buffone said in a telephone interview Thursday that the term wasn't meant to be used as a defense in a criminal trial or to justify such behavior. "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."

    District Judge Jean Boyd issued his sentence Tuesday after Couch pleaded guilty last week to intoxication manslaughter in the June accident.

    The psychologist testifying as a defense witness at Couch's trial testified that the boy grew up in a house where the parents were preoccupied with arguments that led to a divorce, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

    But prosecutor Richard Alpert argued in court that if the boy continues to be cushioned by his family's wealth, another tragedy is inevitable.

    A message left for Boyd by The Associated Press was not returned Thursday. But the Star-Telegram reported that the judge said the programs available in the Texas juvenile justice system may not provide the intensive therapy Couch could receive at a $450,000-a-year rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif., that the parents would pay for.

    Although Couch's case was handled in juvenile court, he has been identified publicly by the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

    One legal expert said he had never even heard of "affluenza."

    "The concept that I did something because I'm rich and spoiled doesn't look like a good causation," Richard Segura, a supervising attorney at the University of Texas at Austin's Criminal Defense Clinic, told the AP. "It doesn't sound like something that would ameliorate the punishment."

    On the other hand, he said, the defense attorney would have likely looked at all the facts in the case and tailored them in a way that he thought would best influence the judge's decision. In addition, the judge likely factored in rehabilitation, restitution and other factors when sentencing Couch, Segura said.

    Dr. Suniya Luthar, a psychologist who specializes in the costs of affluence in suburban communities, said her research at Columbia University in New York has shown that 20 percent of upper middle-class adolescents believe their parents would help them get out of a sticky situation at school, such as being caught for the third time on campus with a bottle of vodka. Boyd's sentence reinforces that belief. "What is the likelihood if this was an African-American, inner-city kid that grew up in a violent neighborhood to a single mother who is addicted to crack and he was caught two or three times ... what is the likelihood that the judge would excuse his behavior and let him off because of how he was raised?" Luthar asked.

    "We are setting a double standard for the rich and poor," she added, noting the message is "families that have money, you can drink and drive. This is a very, very dangerous thing we're telling our children."

    Authorities 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, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to trial testimony. His truck slammed into the four pedestrians, killing Brian Jennings, 43, Breanna Mitchell, 24, Shelby Boyles, 21, and her mother, Hollie Boyles, 52.

    Scott Brown, Couch's lead defense attorney, said the teenager could have been freed after two years if he had drawn the 20-year 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.

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013...lite&gt1=43001
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    Reminds me of the teacher that was too pretty for jail after having sex with one of her male students. Just disgusting. Vote out the shit judges.

    I hope the victims families go for civil suits against the parents and the son. I am sure he did no owe on the truck or carried the insurance. Time to teach Mom and Dad a lesson.

    Me
    Last edited by hblueeyes; 12-14-2013 at 11:50 AM. Reason: to add

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    With the exception of the family's money, this sounds like what happened to my aunt 2 yrs ago.
    A 16yr old, out driving, drinking, partying...with 5 friends...
    hits 2 pedestrians with his truck at a high rate of speed, killing both of them.
    He goes to court.....gets a slap on the wrist. (2 yrs in jail).
    Come to find out, this was his 2nd offense. Had the judge actually done something about it the first time, my aunt would probably be alive.

    He'll be out next summer. Unfortunetly, my aunt will still be dead.


    Authorities 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,
    When are we going to start holding others accountable too?? SEVEN others in the truck, and not one of them could take the keys from him?? Were they ALL drunk??

    Again, same situation with my aunts killer....5 others in the truck...not one had the common sense to take the keys from him, even though they admitted knowing he was drunk. (they also didn't have the common sense to know NOT TO DRIVE WITH HIM.)
    Last edited by 3lilpigs; 12-14-2013 at 01:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3lilpigs View Post
    He'll be out next summer. Unfortunetly, my aunt will still be dead.
    THIS is the point that needs to be hammered home


    I am so sorry for your loss
    Laissez les bon temps rouler! Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.** a 4 day work week & sex slaves ~ I say Tyt for PRESIDENT! Not to be taken internally, literally or seriously ....Suki ebaynni IS THAT BETTER ?

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    I think I remember you posting about your Aunt. All the court dates, reliving everything. It does not end for the victims families. But hopefully, in this case, because of the outcry from, well just about everyone, this young man will have to live the next 10 years under a black cloud. No elite college acceptance, no job prospects, living under a microscope, just waiting for someone to catch you doing anything so they can send his butt to prison.

    Me

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    Yesterday, Judge Jean Boyd reminded the world that while Ethan Couch is sitting in an undisclosed rehab facility in Texas, six families will be serving a life sentence with no hope of parole thanks to his selfish acts. MADD continues to be outraged at the case and plans to work diligently with lawmakers in Texas to ensure that, in the future, the punishment for drunk driving fits the crime in the state.

    No jail for rich ‘affluenza’ teen, Ethan Couch, after deadly wreck
    For a second time, a Texas judge sentenced Ethan Couch to 10 years' probation for a wreck that killed four people. The ruling in Fort Worth on Wednesday was the same previously made by the judge. Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence the 16-year-old to 20 years in state custody.

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 12:26 PM


    FORT WORTH, Texas — A judge on Wednesday ordered a Texas teenager who was sentenced to 10 years’ probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents.

    Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, defense attorney Reagan Wynn and prosecutors told reporters after the hearing, which was closed to the public. Prosecutors had asked Boyd to sentence him to 20 years in state custody on charges related to two people who were severely injured.

    The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch’s wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition “affluenza.”

    Wynn and prosecutor Richard Alpert would not identify the facility where Couch will go or where it is located. The teen’s family previously had offered to pay for Couch to go to a $450,000-a-year rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif.

    Couch, who is currently in state custody, is expected to receive alcohol and drug rehab, and could face prison time if he runs away from the facility or violates any other terms of his probation, Alpert said.

    There is no minimum amount of time Couch must spend in the facility before his release, prosecutor Riley Shaw said.

    Wynn ripped the media and the public’s focus on “affluenza” and said that his client was misunderstood. He said reporting of the Couch case had “so twisted the facts that were actually presented in court that I don’t think the truth will ever be able to come out now.”

    “It was ridiculous to think that we walked into court and said, ‘Oh, this is a rich white kid,’ and she decided to probate him,” he said.

    But Alpert accused Wynn of hypocrisy, pointing out that a defense witness made the comment in the first place. “His witnesses don’t say things by accident,” Alpert said. “So they thought maybe that would help — that’s my interpretation — and it blew up on them. It was a stupid thing to say.”

    Couch’s parents did not speak to reporters as they entered the courtroom. Several relatives of Couch’s victims also attended Wednesday’s hearing. “The families feel like the same way they felt the last time they were here,” Alpert said.

    Asking Boyd to give Couch jail time for intoxication assault was a last-ditch effort by prosecutors, who have said they have almost no way to appeal the judge’s sentence in the case.

    Alpert said he hoped the Couch case would lead the Texas Legislature to allow juries to sentence some juvenile defendants. The case has already spurred calls for potential changes. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who serves as president of the Senate, has asked for a study of sentencing guidelines in intoxication manslaughter cases.

    But Wynn lauded Boyd for giving Couch probation and recognizing the possibility that he could be reformed better in a rehab facility that in prison. “We recognize that 16-year-old kids are different from 25-year-old adults,” he said.

    Couch was 16 at the time of the accident. His blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit for an adult and there were traces of Valium in his system when he lost control of his pickup truck and plowed into a group of people helping a woman whose car had stalled.

    Seven passengers were riding in Couch’s truck. One, Sergio Molina, is paralyzed and can communicate only by blinking. The other, Solimon Mohmand, suffered numerous broken bones and internal injuries.


    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...#ixzz2saS30SJi



    Sergio Molina, 16, was thrown from the back of Ethan Couch's truck and is now paralyzed and unable to speak.




    Hollie Boyles, 52, and her daughter, Shelby Boyles, 21, died when a drunken Ethan Couch plowed into them while they were helping a stranded motorist.


    Breanna Mitchell’s vehicle was pulled over and three good Samaritans were helping her when Couch slammed into them on the side of the road, killing all four.
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    Father of Texas 'affluenza' teen arrested for impersonating police officer
    Reuters 1 day ago | By Marice Richter

    DALLAS, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The father of the Texas teenager who killed four people while driving drunk and claimed his family's wealth was partially to blame has been arrested for impersonating a police officer, legal documents showed.


    Frederick Anthony Couch was arrested on Tuesday for an incident that occurred on July 28 in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills.

    Couch is the father of the then 16-year-old boy who was sentenced to probation for the deadly accident after his lawyers argued the enormous wealth of the youth's family blinded him to responsibilities resulting from his actions. An expert witness for the defense described the boy's condition as "affluenza."

    The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize "affluenza" as a diagnosis. The probation given to the teen sparked outrage, with social critics saying it indicated a more lenient court system for the wealthy.

    Police said in a statement that officers encountered Couch during a disturbance call. Couch identified himself as a reserve officer with a police department in another Fort Worth area community.

    "Couch reached into his vehicle and took out his wallet displaying what appeared to be a police badge and identification card, suggesting he was a police officer," the statement said.

    Officers at the scene later determined that Couch was not a police officer and never has been licensed as a police officer in Texas, the statement said.

    Police offered no further details on the incident and lawyers for Couch were not immediately available for comment. Couch was released from jail on $2,500 bail.

    The Couch family has settled for undisclosed sums with the families of the four victims who died in the June 2013 wreck.

    http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/fa...ocid=ansnews11
    Laissez les bon temps rouler! Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.** a 4 day work week & sex slaves ~ I say Tyt for PRESIDENT! Not to be taken internally, literally or seriously ....Suki ebaynni IS THAT BETTER ?

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    ... 16-year-old boy who was sentenced to probation for the deadly accident after his lawyers argued the enormous wealth of the youth's family blinded him to responsibilities resulting from his actions. An expert witness for the defense described the boy's condition as "affluenza."
    http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/fa...ocid=ansnews11
    'Affluenza Teen' Ethan Couch missing, says probation officer

    Dec 16th 2015 8:16AM

    Texas authorities are searching for the teenager who was found guilty of killing four people while driving drunk back in 2013, then claimed "affluenza" as part of his defense.

    According to a report from The Dallas Morning News Tuesday, Ethan Couch's probation officer had been unable to contact him and his mother for several days.

    Couch's sentence of 10 years' probation without time in jail or a juvenile detention facility instantly became controversial.

    So did his defense team's argument that the teen suffered from "affluenza," a condition in which Couch was unable to control his behavior because of the extravagant, consequence-free lifestyle his wealth enabled.

    At the time of the trial, the condition was not recognized by psychology's official diagnostic manual.

    A video posted to Twitter this month allegedly shows Couch at a party with alcohol.

    The key to the whole thing is, did he violate a term or condition of his probation?" an attorney unaffiliated with the case told KTVT.

    Those terms have not been disclosed because Couch was a minor at the time of his trial. A judge has ordered him detained, and he could face 10 years in prison if found guilty of violating his probation. Couch, who killed four people in a drunken wreck, have reached a settlement of more than $2 million with the family of a teenage boy left disabled. Tarrant County court documents filed Friday show that the liability insurer of Ethan Couchâs parents agreed to pay $1.64 million in cash to a trust established for Sergio E. Molina.

    http://www.aol.com/article/2015/12/1...icer/21284399/

    A video posted to Twitter this month allegedly shows Couch at a party with alcohol.
    Video shows him playing what appears to be "Beer Pong"

    He seems to show no remorse. Why should he feel that there are consequences for his behavior ? The court itself excused him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolie Rouge View Post
    '

    He seems to show no remorse. Why should he feel that there are consequences for his behavior ? The court itself excused him.
    And when he kills someone again, (and sadly we know he will), then those family members need to track down District Judge Jean Boyd, and sue him, and hold HIM accountable. Someone needs to take this kind of a stand. If the court SYSTEM is failing the victims, it's because those running it are making the wrong decisions!

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    Police Say 18-Year-Old Who Used ‘Affluenza’ Defense May Have Fled Country
    'Affluenza' Teen May Have 'Had a Head Start' in Avoiding Authorities

    By Meghan Keneally and Matt Gutman
    ·Dec 17, 2015,


    The Texas teenager whose trial on drunk driving charges included a defense witness saying that he was afflicted with "affluenza" may be on the run from his parole, authorities said.

    Ethan Couch, 18, was convicted of four counts of intoxication manslaughter in 2013 but was not sentenced to any jail time; instead he was given 10 years' probation -- a punishment considered a mere slap on the wrist by critics, and one that outraged the victims' families.

    Part of his parole mandates that he make regular check-ins with his parole officer and that he not drink alcohol for 10 years.

    Now, officials are concerned that not only has he skipped at least one check-in with his probation officer, but that he has skipped town, perhaps even the country. A juvenile judge issued a "directive to apprehend" -- effectively a warrant -- for Couch on Dec. 11.

    Sheriff's officials told ABC News that they are concerned he has a "huge head start" in his possible run from the law. The local juvenile court system mandates that parole check-in records are not publicly released. Investigators are working to confirm when he last checked in.

    Juvenile probation check-ins are typically monthly, authorities said.

    The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office has tasked a sheriff's team that specializes in serving warrants with finding Couch, who is now on a national fugitive data-base.

    "If we [had] a top 10 wanted list today, he's number one," Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson told ABC News.

    One possible factor in his disappearance is a video that was posted on Twitter that appears to show Couch at a party near a beer pong table. In the video, Couch is not seen drinking alcohol, but the teen who posted the video tagged the district attorney and referenced that Couch was "violating probation."

    "Once that video came out, they felt like a probation violation could be coming," Anderson told ABC News.

    While there has been no specific evidence that suggests that Couch or his mother has left the country, authorities have expressed a general concern that Couch and his mother may have had the time, money and means to flee.

    State prosecutors have been pushing for a motion to have his case moved to an adult court. If that happens and he violates the terms of his probation in the future, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/affluenza-t...ry?id=35822035

    ...
    U.S. Marshals are now offering a $5,000 reward for information relating to the whereabouts of the “affluenza teen,” who remains missing this morning.

    Two years ago, Ethan Couch was driving drunk when he plowed into a group of people on the side of a road, killing four. He was 16 at the time.

    Couch rose to infamy as the “affluenza teen” when a Texas judge last year sentenced him to no jail time, but 10 years’ probation. Prosecutors then had asked for up to 20 years in state custody.







    A psychologist testified that the teenager suffered from “affluenza,” because his family’s money had allegedly left him with no sense of boundaries.

    Essentially, the court heard that “he was too rich to know any better,” Anna Kooiman translated.

    Now, Couch is making headlines again, as authorities have issued the 18-year-old a “directive to apprehend,” also known as the juvenile equivalent to an arrest warrant.

    They have been searching for him and his mother for several days, and fear he may have even left the country.

    If he’s caught, Couch will be held in juvenile detention until his 19th birthday, at which time he could be tried as an adult.

    He could face up to 20 years for violating his probation.

    http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/12/1...en-ethan-couch
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    'Affluenza' DUI Case: Never-Before-Seen Deposition Tapes Reveal New Details of Fatal Crash, Teen’s Upbringing

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/affluenza-d...ry?id=34505481

    Never-before-seen deposition tapes reveal new details of how Texas teen Ethan Couch and his parents viewed his privileged upbringing that became the core of his defense in the so-called “Affluenza” DUI case.

    The deposition tapes, which were obtained by ABC News, are from a 2013 civil suit brought against Couch, his parents Tonya and Fred Couch, and the family’s multimillion-dollar sheet metal company Cleburne Sheet Metal after the teenager killed four people and paralyzed another in a fatal DUI car accident on June 15, 2013.

    Couch and his parents did not testify at the criminal case that followed, so these tapes show the family talking about what happened in their own words for the first time under oath.

    During the deposition, Ethan Couch, who was 16 years old at the time of the accident, described a privileged life seemingly with few rules or consequences. He testified that he did drugs, that he thought his mother knew he drank alcohol and warned him not to drink and drive the night of the accident, that his parents allowed him to start driving by himself at age 13, and that he often stayed alone in the family’s second home in Burleson, Texas.

    Tonya and Fred Couch admitted in the deposition that they allowed their son to stay without supervision in the Burleson home and to drive before he was of legal age, but denied knowing about his drinking habits. Fred Couch testified that “[Ethan] seemed pretty responsible.”

    When asked if she had ever disciplined Ethan for anything, Tonya Couch testified in the deposition that she would “sometimes ... take little things away from him or we would just discuss the problems.” When asked if she could recall the last time she disciplined her son, Tonya replied, “I don’t remember.”

    On the night of June 15, 2013, Couch’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he got behind the wheel of his father’s red pick-up truck with seven other teens inside after a night of partying, authorities said.

    That night, Couch barreled down the road at approximately 70 miles an hour when he lost control of the truck, swerved into a ditch and plowed into a group of people who were helping a stranded motorist on the side of the road, killing four of them instantly, authorities said.

    When asked during the deposition if he remembered pulling out of the driveway, Ethan Couch said, “Not really.” The next thing he said he remembered was “waking up handcuffed to the hospital bed.”

    Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault on Dec. 4, 2013.

    At the sentencing hearing, Couch’s legal team called prominent psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller to the stand to testify on Couch’s behalf. Miller said that Couch’s upbringing and a lack of consequences for his actions caused him to suffer from “Affluenza.”

    The prosecution advocated for Couch to receive a 20-year prison term, but instead he was sentenced to 10 years of probation and time in a rehab facility, a ruling that shocked the victims' families and made national headlines.

    Following the criminal case ruling, six families whose relatives were involved in the fatal accident brought civil suits against the Couches and the family’s business. The Couches settled all of the suits without admitting any wrongdoing.

    “Never once has Ethan apologized in any shape or form,” said Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the 2013 crash.

    Another family, the McConnells, whose son Lucas, now 15, was injured in the crash, was the last family to settle. At first, they fought to take the Couches to court, which is what led Ethan Couch, his parents, Ethan’s friends and psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller to be deposed.

    During his deposition, Miller said he had “strongly” recommended in the criminal sentencing that Couch needed to be separated from his parents and that their parenting “strongly enabled” the deadly accident.

    Fred Couch tried to distance himself from the “affluenza” defense during his deposition, testifying that, “I don’t even know that I believe affluenza is real.” He denied that he and Tonya Couch were “profoundly dysfunctional” parents and “never” taught Ethan the rules didn’t apply to him.

    Tonya Couch also testified that she “never saw the child drink.” But Ethan’s friend Starr Teague testified in the deposition that she had been drinking with Ethan in front of his mother at the family’s Fort Worth home one week before the 2013 crash.

    Even on the night of the crash, Teague testified that Ethan had been texting with his mother and she “knew that we were drinking, she was like, ‘well just don’t drink and drive.’”

    Just four months before the fatal crash, police had stopped a 15-year-old Couch at 1 a.m., who was drunk and relieving himself in a parking lot. Though he was alleged to be in clear violation of five different laws that night, Couch got away with a summons and was sent home with his mother Tonya Couch, according to one of the McConnells' attorneys, Todd Clement.

    During the deposition, Tonya Couch testified she didn’t tell Fred Couch that their son had been drunk the night of the parking lot incident because she “wasn’t sure how he would react” if he knew “the whole truth.”

    As punishment for the summons, Fred Couch testified that he made Ethan walk to work for a month, but Ethan denied that ever happened. “I don’t remember ever having to walk to work,” he said during the deposition.

    For that incident, Ethan was required to complete an alcohol awareness course and eight hours of community service within 90 days. But Tonya Couch testified in the deposition that her son never did the community service.

    When asked by Greg Coontz, one of the McConnells' attorneys, if she understood that Ethan would likely continue drinking and driving if there weren’t consequences for his actions, Tonya Couch replied, “I should have, yes.”

    “I should have known that,” she continued. “I really didn’t think that that would happen again.”

    When Ethan Couch was asked during the deposition if there was “always alcohol” at the Burleson house, he said, “not always,” but “most of the time, yes.” He admitted to there being drugs at the house and proceeded to list the number of drugs he had tried.

    “I’ve taken Valium, Hydrocodone, marijuana, cocaine, Xanax and I think I tried ecstasy once, pretty sure that was it,” Couch testified.

    Nearly two and a half years since the June 2013 crash, Couch, who is now 18 years old and still on probation, is out of rehab and working at his father’s business, Cleburne Sheet Metal. The Couches declined “20/20’s” requests for comment for this report.

    The McConnells have settled their suit with the Couches but they and the other victims’ families remain convinced that this accident was preventable. But over time, some hope to find forgiveness.

    “It’s a daily decision to forgive,” said Shaunna Jennings, whose husband was one of the people who had stopped to help the stranded motorist when he was killed. “[Hate] doesn’t do anything except punish you. ... I can’t live my life bitter or angry.”
    Laissez les bon temps rouler! Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.** a 4 day work week & sex slaves ~ I say Tyt for PRESIDENT! Not to be taken internally, literally or seriously ....Suki ebaynni IS THAT BETTER ?

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