Affluenza Teen: Prosecutors Still Trying to Get 16-Year-Old Jail Time

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 10:27 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Texas prosecutors will try again to convince a judge that a 16-year-old from a wealthy family who killed four people while driving drunk deserves jail time.

Tarrant County district attorney Joe Shannon is asking a juvenile judge to put Ethan Couch behind bars on two counts of intoxication assault that he says are still pending before the court, according to the Star-Telegram.

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Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years probation and ordered him to get therapy on Dec. 10 after he admitted to driving drunk in an accident in which four people died. The defense used the term "affluenza" to describe the teen's condition, claiming the teen's affluent upbringing did not make him responsible for his actions.

"During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault," Shannon said. "There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict. The district attorney’s office is asking the court to incarcerate the teen on the two intoxication assault cases."

Kimberly Priest Johnson, a criminal defense attorney in Dallas, told the Star-Telegram that Shannon's efforts are a long shot, since Boyd had already given Couch probation on the most serious charges in the case.

"I would be surprised if a judge gave jail time," Johnson told the Star-Telegram. "After she's already given probation for the manslaughter charge, then to turn around and give jail time for the assault charge? That doesn’t make sense. I'm sure she stands behind the sentence she gave and has her reasons for it."

Couch remains in Tarrant County juvenile detention Wednesday until the juvenile probation department prepares a report with possible treatment programs. If he violates his probation, he could serve as many as 10 years in prison.

Couch's family is facing at least three civil lawsuits from the families of the victims. Those killed include Breanna Mitchell, whose car broke down, Hollie and Shelby Boyles, who lived nearby and came out to assist Mitchell and Brian Jennings, a youth minister who also stopped to help.

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