'Affluenza' Teen’s Attorneys Argue Judge Had No Authority to Jail Him

Ethan Couch is brought into Tarrant County, Texas, Judge Wayne Salvant's courtroom for Couch's adult-court hearing April 13, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images

And so the saga of privilege for "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch continues.

According to a report by Reuters, lawyers for Couch, who drew national attention after killing four people while drunkenly driving as a 16-year-old, are seeking to have him released from a two-year jail term, claiming that the judge who sentenced him had no authority to put him in jail.


Attorneys filed a motion late Tuesday claiming that Tarrant County, Texas, Judge Wayne Salvant should not have sentenced Couch because the case was a civil case, not a criminal one, when it was transferred to Salvant from the juvenile system.

“All orders, judgments, conditions of probation and/or other decrees entered or imposed by this court are void and must be immediately rescinded,” the motion, which was released Wednesday, reads.

Couch, who had been found guilty of intoxication manslaughter, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation in the juvenile system after the 2013 drunken driving incident. His defense had argued that Couch suffered from "affluenza" as a result of his parents always letting him get his own way.

The sentencing outraged many who saw it as little more than a slap on the wrist.

Couch's case once again drew attention after he was apparently caught on video at a party where alcohol was being consumed. Drinking alcohol would have been a violation of his probation. Investigators began looking into the video, which had been posted on social media.


In the aftermath of the video, authorities say, Couch, along with his mother, Tonya Couch, fled to Mexico last winter in an attempt to escape further consequences for Ethan Couch before the two were finally arrested and returned to Texas.

When Couch turned 19 in April, his case was transferred to the adult system. As part of Couch's probation in the adult system, Judge Salvant ordered Couch to serve 720 days in jail.


Couch's mother, who was indicted on charges of money laundering and hindering apprehension of her son, was released from jail and placed under house confinement, though her curfew was eased during the summer so that she could get a job.

Read more at Raw Story.

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