No Extra Jail Time for Teen in 'Affluenza' Case
FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) - A Texas judge declined to add jail time to an "affluenza"-afflicted teen's controversial sentence of probation for drunken driving and killing four people.
Ethan Couch, 16, was sentenced to probation and therapy in December by state District Judge Jean Boyd.
Couch faced up to 20 years in state prison for the fatal June 15 collision in south Fort Worth.
Police said Couch was going 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, and his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit of .08 for an adult.
It is illegal for minors to drive with any alcohol in their systems.
During trial, defense psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller testified that Couch is a product of "affluenza": that his family felt wealth bought privilege, so the boy saw no link between behavior and consequences.
Miller testified that Couch's parents gave him "freedoms no young person should have."
At a hearing Wednesday, Boyd rejected prosecutors' requests to add jail time to his sentence for injuring two other victims in the crash, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. She also ordered Couch to an undisclosed rehabilitation facility that his family would pay for, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Immediately before the hearing took place, members of the media and public were ejected from the courtroom. A uniformed sheriff's deputy stood guard in front of the locked courtroom doors for the duration of the hearing. The courtroom was closed over the objections of prosecutors, they said in a written statement.
One day earlier, Boyd rejected a filing by several local media outlets to be given a hearing if Boyd chose to close court proceedings to the public.