Rich Teen’s Lenient Sentence Raises Questions About How to Handle Convicted Juveniles

A news site discovered that the judge who handed down a cushy sentence to Ethan Couch is prone to recommending rehab over prison. 

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Ethan Couch

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The Texas county judge who sentenced 16-year-old “affluenza” sufferer Ethan Couch to one year of rehabilitation and 10 years of probation after he killed four people in a drunk-driving accident apparently has a tendency to hand down lenient sentences. 

According to News8, last year Tarrant County Judge Jean Boyd pushed for rehab in the case of a 14-year-old black boy who killed someone with a punch. The teenager—whose name was never released because he was a juvenile—admitted to hitting Mark Gregory, whose head struck the pavement; he died two days after the attack.

Despite the judge’s attempts to get the 14-year-old into rehab, no program would take him, so he was sentenced to jail instead. The victim’s mother was thankful for that much.

"She wanted to send him to one of these special places in Arizona, but no one would take him," Anita Lauterbach, Mark’s mother, told the news site. "We were horrified. We just couldn't believe it. The district attorney and I were just sitting on pins and needles. But when nobody would take him, [it was] a sigh of relief."

"She's too easy on them," Lauterbach added. "I don't think she needs to be sitting on that bench."

Some, however, do agree with Boyd’s apparent second-chances stance. "The law almost assumes [juveniles] can be rehabilitated," said John Cruezot, a retired state district judge. "Not in every instance, but in most instances, I think it's appropriate for a judge to start at that standpoint."

Read more at News8.

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