FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Lawyers for a Texas teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck have turned to the Texas Supreme Court in an effort to secure his release from jail.
The motion filed on behalf of 19-year-old Ethan Couch argues that a judge had no authority to sentence Couch to nearly two years in jail after his case was moved from juvenile to adult court.
Couch’s attorneys argue that the judge only had jurisdiction over criminal cases and that juvenile matters are civil.
Couch was given 10 years’ probation after killing four people in a 2013 wreck. He later violated his probation.
A defense expert invoked the term “affluenza” in arguing during the sentencing phase of the teenager’s trial that he was coddled into a sense of irresponsibility.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving released a statement in response to Ethan Couch and his lawyers turning to Texas Supreme Court to release Couch:
“These latest antics of “Affluenza” teen Ethan Couch and his lawyers are cruel and insulting to the families of the four people he killed and the numerous people he injured while driving drunk. To try to escape justice by turning to the Texas Supreme Court to obtain release from jail for his already lenient 720 day sentence is beyond reprehensible. 720 days in jail was not enough. So anything less is wholly unacceptable. Bottom line, Ethan Couch is a criminal, and this meritless motion can’t change that. MADD urges the Texas Supreme Court to reject this preposterous appeal and tell Ethan Couch to serve his time and pay for his deadly crimes.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)