The father of Ethan Couch, who famously dodged prison time for murder because he was supposedly too rich to know any better – “affluenza,” as his defense attorney called it (see this Inquisitr article) – was arrested earlier this week for impersonating a police officer, Reuters is reporting.
According to The Daily Mail, the incident that got the affluenza father arrested took place July 28th. Officers were called to a house in the Dallas suburb of North Richland Hills over a disturbance call. There, they found Fred Couch, who allegedly identified himself as a reserve officer in Lakeside.
“Couch reached into his vehicle and took out his wallet displaying what appeared to be a police badge and identification card, suggesting he was a police officer.”
However, police did some digging and found that Couch was, in fact, not a police officer. He was charged with False Identification As A Police Officer: Misrepresentation Of Property, and was released from jail after posting $2,500 bail.
Couch and his now-ex wife, Tonya, each have a long history of various crimes and misdemeanors, mostly involving traffic citations, although Fred also has had charges of theft and assault, both dropped. Neither Fred nor Tonya has ever served a day in jail.
The family, and their unique style of parenting, made headlines last year when their son, Ethan, killed four people while driving home drunk from a wild party. During Ethan’s trial, it came out that his parents rarely disciplined him, and that the family’s wealth had made Ethan scarcely aware of the difference between right and wrong. The family’s defense attorney dubbed Ethan’s condition “affluenza.”
The word has since caught traction in the press, and has been used in other cases where a wealthy person avoids punishment for a crime because of their wealth. The term “affluenza” is not officially recognized as a true psychiatric disorder, however.
Ethan avoided jail time – he could have gotten 20 years in prison – and instead was sentenced to ten years probation. The wealthy family settled, for undisclosed sums, with the families of the four victims.
The Daily Mail posits a connection between Ethan’s parents’ history of dodging criminal punishments and Ethan’s own affluenza. Psychologist Gerry Miller testified, during Ethan’s trial:
“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money.”
As of this post, it’s unknown exactly why the elder Couch felt the need to impersonate a police officer. Perhaps affluenza caused him to believe he could do anything he pleases?
Do you believe that affluenza exists, or that the wealthy in this country face a different legal system than the one regular people do? Let us know what you think in the Comments.
Image courtesy of: Daily Mail