‘Affluenza’ Killer Won’t Get a New Judge

     FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) — “Affluenza” killer Ethan Couch’s attempt to be released from jail was unsuccessful after his motion for a new judge was denied Thursday.
     In rejecting the motion, Judge David L. Evans was not persuaded by Couch’s attorneys at a Tuesday hearing that the transfer of Couch’s juvenile probation to Judge Wayne Salvant’s adult criminal court was incorrect, because such transfers are civil cases.
     Salvant sentenced Couch, 19, to nearly two years in county jail in April for violating the conditions of his juvenile parole soon after the case was transferred to his court.
     The sentence was based on 180 days for each of the four people Couch killed while driving drunk as a juvenile – mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, youth pastor Brian Jennings and Breanna Mitchell.
     Several other people were seriously injured when the truck Couch was driving plowed into a crowd that was helping a stranded vehicle in south Fort Worth three years ago.
     Public outrage grew when former judge Jean Boyd sentenced him to only 10 years probation and therapy.
     A defense psychologist testified at trial that Couch was a product of “affluenza” – that his family felt their wealth bought privilege and that there was no rational link between behavior and consequences. Couch had faced up to 20 years in state prison.
     Couch got in trouble again last year when he and his mother Tonya, 48, fled to Mexico after a video was posted on Twitter that showed someone who resembles Couch at a beer pong game. Couch was banned from drinking alcohol under the terms of his probation at the time.
     The duo was arrested in Puerto Vallarta in December, and Couch’s mother was deported days after her arrest. Couch initially fought deportation to Texas but dropped his case in Mexican court and was deported on Jan. 29.
     Couch’s attorneys filed for his release last month, arguing Salvant’s “criminal district court” is not a “district court” and that its jurisdiction is limited to criminal matters. Salvant asked Evans to rule on the request.
     Wm. Reagan Wynn, with Kearney Wynn of Fort Worth, told Evans during Tuesday’s hearing that Salvant should be removed from the case because of a “conflict of interest” resulting from the possibility that Couch could sue for illegally jailing him.
     Prosecutors responded that the litigation threat “does not make any sense” and that there is “no disputing” the case stopped being a civil case when it was transferred.

%d bloggers like this: