“Affluenza” teen Ethan Couch won his fight to stop deportation back to Texas, at least temporarily. The stall could take weeks or even months to get mom and son back to the U.S.
WFAA ABC 8 reports that yesterday, Ethan and Tonya Couch filed a writ of amparo, a petition that states that their life, liberty, and security will be violated if they return to the U.S., where the story of the duo fleeing the country is now well-known across the nation. Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Hunter still feels the deportation will happen, but it will take longer than anticipated.
“We anticipate the deportation continuing. At this time, we don’t have a time frame. We don’t know if the Mexicans have the highest priority on this case like we do here in America. It’s on their time schedule. We’ve seen these things happen as quickly as two weeks to two months.”
Ethan and Tonya Couch apparently hired a team of high-power attorneys, and according to Hunter, the Couch family has enough money to keep dragging the issue out as long as they feel like it.
“It seems to me, if [the Couches] wanted to, they could pay them as much money as they want to, drag this thing out as long as they want to.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Mexican authorities were working with the U.S. Marshals service to have Ethan and Tonya sent back to Texas via a commercial airplane. The stalled plan to return the pair to Texas has numerous people upset, including Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, who has been involved in the case since 2013, when Ethan was given 10 years probation for killing four people and injuring several others during a drunk driving incident in the Fort Worth area.
“I’ve learned at this point to not be surprised by what these people will do and how far they will go to not face justice.”
Anderson also stated that Ethan Couch had been planning to stay out of the country for a long time, which included a “carefully planned” escape and a going away party.
“I don’t think there was any intent for them to come back because they knew as soon as they returned to this country and were located that they would be arrested.”
Referring to the Couch’s going away party, Anderson indicated that it was a way to tell friends and family goodbye, as mom and son didn’t plan on seeing them for quite some time, if ever again.
“It was described to us by some people as more or less a going-away party. A gathering basically to tell some friends goodbye and that they were heading out of the country. Again, just an example of the arrogance and the way these people don’t believe the law applies to them.”
Regardless of how long it takes to get Ethan and Tonya Couch back to the U.S., Dallas-based attorney Peter Schulte, who represents juveniles but has to ties to the Couch case, stated that hiring lawyers in Mexico will more than likely affect how Texas judges respond to the case once they finally return.
“It’s a mistake to go down this path. It has the potential to show the judge that his intent was to flee. Ethan’s going to have to make a decision: either say he was with this all along or he’s going to have to blame his mother.”
Both mom and son are currently being held in Guadalajara. Once they return to the U.S., Tonya Couch faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of hindering an apprehension, a third-degree felony. Authorities are working to move Ethan Couch to an adult court so that he can face a harsher sentence.
[Photo Courtesy of the Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office]