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AFFLUENZA DEFENCE FOR RICH IS JUST SICK.

Byline: CHRISTOPHER BUCKTIN

AMERICAN lawyers have never been accused of failing to push the envelope when it comes to defending their clients.

Nowhere else on Earth is it better to be guilty and rich than poor and innocent.

But following the case of teenager Ethan Couch it seems not only should defendants be in the dock but some judges too.

For in the Texas courtroom of Judge Jean Boyd, along with self-defence and provocation, "affluenza" has now been added as a defence.

The troubled 16-year-old had driven his truck while drunk, killing four innocent people. One of his seven passengers was left permanently paralysed and can now only communicate by blinking.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of 20 years yet following am impassioned defence by his lawyer he walked out of a court a free man instead, being given 10 years probation.

Why? Because Judge Boyd agreed his privileged lifestyle had made him behave in a different way to any other teen his age.

The theory was he was not to blame for his actions because his rich parents didn't set limits for him, gave him too much and he never learned consequences for his actions. Couch's lawyers argued his parents and his family's wealth were to blame.

The defence was absurd. The judge's decision - deplorable.

Couch and his wealthy parents should have been told that the cure for affluenza is a long poverty-stricken stretch in a prison where he would learn his money can't buy justice.

CAPTION(S):

DEPLORABLE Judge Jean Boyd
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2013
Words:254
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