The Twinkie Defense of the 21st Century

A Texas lawyer has succeeded in conning convincing a judge that affluenza is a real thing and excuses drunk driving and vehicular homicide:

There are many reasons to feel disgust over a judge in a juvenile court in Fort Worth, Texas, sentencing 16-year-old Ethan Couch to 10 years of probation for killing four pedestrians and paralyzing his friend while driving drunk this summer.

Leading up to the tragedy that killed Breanna Mitchell (aged 24), Hollie Boyles (42) and Shelby Boyles (21) and Brian Jennings (43), Couch and a group of friends stole alcohol from a Walmart nearby. At the time of the crash, he was driving a pickup owned by Cleburne Sheet Metal, his father’s company. Couch had seven passengers in his truck and a blood-alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit in Texas. He also had valium in his system. Two of his passengers were severely injured, including Sergio Molina, who suffered brain damage that has left him with blinking as his only form of communication.

Couch has never denied that he was driving drunk that night, nor that he killed those people. Instead, the defense argued that Couch grew up in a family that was dysfunctional, in part because of its wealth, and that he deserved therapy, not incarceration.

To say that there’s a racial, ethnic, and class bias at work here is an understatement. If Texas offered similar mercy to young blacks, latins or poor whites this would be less offensive but it doesn’t so it is.

The Twinkie defense, of course, was deployed by Dan White’s attorney to get him a light sentence for murdering progressive heroes Harvey Milk and George Moscone. White, however, did spend some time in the slammer unlike young Mr. Couch who will do soft time in a $450K per year rehab joint. That’s right, $450K. Sounds like the Detox Mansion that Warren Zevon wrote about.

Hopefully, the affluenza defense will receive the ridicule it deserves, but they love them some rich folks in Texas so who knows what will happen. Hmm, I wonder what Willard Mittbot Romney thinks of this?

3 thoughts on “The Twinkie Defense of the 21st Century

  1. MichaelF says:

    It’d be great if the affluenza defense got the ridicule it deserved, but I doubt it will. To be sure, the next time — and there will be a next time, and one after that, and so on — anyway, the next time it might be a bit more subtle, but it’ll be there.
    Because they can get away with it. Hell, Rush Lamebone walked twice. Trey Radel “punishment” is rehab, probably at place not that different from where this kid will go.
    Meanwhile, Republicans who are collegues of Radel and worshippers of Lamebone insist on mandatory drug testing for welfare receipients…

  2. pansypoo says:

    does not apply to brown people tho.

  3. Aaaargh says:

    And with Tort Reform in place I doubt whether any of those he killed or mailed or their families will recover much of anything. Protect the Rich at all costs!

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