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Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars 

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Old 12-12-2013, 05:37 PM
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Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

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Affluenza, a portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. The book Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic defines it as "a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more".[1]

Proponents of the term consider that the prizing of endless increases in material wealth may lead to feelings of worthlessness and dissatisfaction rather than experiences of a 'better life', and that these symptoms may be usefully captured with the metaphor of a disease. They claim some or even many of those who become wealthy will find the economic success leaving them unfulfilled and hungry only for more wealth, finding that they are unable to get pleasure from the things they buy and that increasingly material things may come to dominate their time and thoughts to the detriment of personal relationships and to feelings of happiness
FORT WORTH, TX - To the families of the victims, Ethan Couch was a killer on the road, a drunken teenage driver who caused a crash that left four people dead.

To the defense, the youth is himself a victim -- of "affluenza," according to one psychologist -- the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy.

To a judge, who sentenced Couch to 10 years' probation but no jail time, he's a defendant in need of treatment.

The decision disappointed prosecutors and stunned victims' family members, who say they feel that Couch got off too easy. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum of 20 years behind bars.

"Let's face it. ... There needs to be some justice here," Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter, told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" on Wednesday night.

"For 25 weeks, I've been going through a healing process. And so when the verdict came out, I mean, my immediate reaction is -- I'm back to week 1. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window," he said.

Lawyers for Couch, 16, had argued that the teen's parents should share part of the blame for the crash because they never set limits for the boy and gave him everything he wanted.

According to CNN affiliate WFAA, a psychologist called by the defense described Couch as a product of "affluenza."

He reportedly testified that the teen's family felt wealth bought privilege, and that Couch's life could be turned around with one to two years of treatment and no contact with his parents.

Couch was sentenced by a juvenile court judge Tuesday. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could face up to 10 years of incarceration, according to a statement from the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office.

Judge Jean Boyd told the court she would not release Couch to his parents, but would work to find the teen a long-term treatment facility.

"There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day," said Boyles. "The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can't buy justice in this country."

His wife, Hollie Boyles, and daughter, Shelby, left their home to help Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down. Brian Jennings, a youth pastor, was driving past and also stopped to help.

All four were killed when the teen's pickup plowed into the pedestrians on a road in Burleson, south of Fort Worth. Couch's vehicle also struck a parked car, which then slid into another vehicle headed in the opposite direction.

Two people riding in the bed of the teen's pickup were tossed in the crash and severely injured.

One is no longer able to move or talk because of a brain injury, while the other suffered internal injuries and broken bones.

"There is nothing the judge could have done to lessen the suffering for any of those families," said defense attorney Scott Brown, CNN affiliate KTVT reported.

"(The judge) fashioned a sentence that is going to keep Ethan under the thumb of the justice system for the next 10 years," he said. "And if Ethan doesn't do what he's supposed to do, if he has one misstep at all, then this judge, or an adult judge when he's transferred, can then incarcerate him."

Earlier on the night of the accident, June 15, Couch and some friends had stolen beer from a local Walmart. Three hours after the crash, tests showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit, according to the district attorney's office.

"We are disappointed by the punishment assessed but have no power under the law to change or overturn it," said Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and we regret that this outcome has added to the pain and suffering they have endured."

It is very rare, but not impossible, for prosecutors to challenge the sentence on the ground that it was too lenient, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said.

"To give him a pass this time given the egregious nature of his conduct -- four deaths -- is just incomprehensible," she said.

It is unfair that other young defendants without the same wealth could end up in jail for a lot less, said Hostin, of CNN's "New Day" morning show.

"I think in terms of policy, this really flies in the face of our criminal justice system," she said. "There have to be consequences to actions, and that is what our system is about, even for juveniles."

Read more: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/nation...#ixzz2nIbF9XYc

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Old 12-12-2013, 09:30 PM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

That's awful
I've always known inherently wealthy people are twisted, some more than others. There are just too many stories of rich people splattering their brains on the wall after losing their fortune because they can't bear the idea of leading a normal life and are horrified to discover they aren't actually better than the rest of us.

It's true; I don't know what the pressures of high society are like, but I do know what it's like to have my skull intact, and I'm pretty sure I want to keep it that way.

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Old 12-12-2013, 11:52 PM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

He killed four people because he was spoiled and was never set limits, giving him no concept of boundaries.

So let's not give him any jail time! GREAT PLAN.

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Old 12-13-2013, 12:20 AM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

Crazy! Whether poor or filthy rich, the law and punishments HAVE to be the same for all doesn’t it?

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Old 12-13-2013, 12:54 AM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

The rich get richer
The poor get the picture

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Old 12-13-2013, 07:53 AM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

So now we can blame both poverty and wealth for crime. Both ends of the spectrum and they all get the 'victim' label. Bollocks to that, jail them.

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Old 12-13-2013, 08:51 AM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

Just goes to show that money talks.

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Old 12-13-2013, 09:31 AM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

Imagine the rage that man must live with. I would want to tear that brat apart.

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Old 12-13-2013, 10:07 AM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

On CNN last night they were going through the judges previous cases and one stood out (although they did not have much information on it). She had sentenced a young black kid to 10 years in prison for accidentally killing one person in a fight after they hit their head. In this case a white kid has killed 4 people and gets 10 months probation. I'm not a huge fan of CNN but if that's true I'd like to know more about her decision.

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Old 12-13-2013, 03:23 PM
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Re: Affluenza Defense Saves Wealthy Teen from 20 Years Behind Bars

Disgusting

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