FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The North Texas teen whose lawyers used an “affulenza” defense during his Intoxication Manslaughter trial was back in a Tarrant County courtroom today.
Attorneys for Ethan Couch were granted a hearing to address their motion claiming the teen has been wrongfully jailed because the case against him should have been in civil, not criminal court.
Couch was in the courtroom, with short red hair, a full beard and wearing a red jail jumpsuit. Couch was 16-years-old in 2013 when he caused crash that killed four people. He was convicted of Intoxicated Manslaughter, but only sentenced to 10 years’ probation
Couch and his mother fled to Mexico after a video posted to Twitter allegedly showed him at a party playing beer pong. Consuming alcohol would have been a violation of his parole. He was extradited back to North Texas on January 28.
Earlier this month Couch’s lawyers had filed a motion requesting that Tarrant County Criminal Court Judge Wayne Salvant recuse himself. The Judge declined and deferred the decision to a higher court. Salvant is the judge who heard Couch’s juvenile probation case after he was extradited back to Texas and ordered him to serve four consecutive 180-day jail terms.
Judge David Evans heard arguments from both the prosecution and defense attorneys. Defense attorney Reagan Wynn asked the judge to decide whether Judge Salvant is impartial, if he has legal prejudice, or if he has financial interest in the case.
Prosecutors said the recusal motion is untimely and rejected claims that Couch’s juvenile probation case belongs in a civil court.
After listening to beth sides Judge Evans called the arguments “fascinating”, but said he would not be handing down a ruling today. Evans said when he makes his decision he will issue a written order.
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