A Fort Worth juvenile judge made arrangements on Friday to transfer Ethan Couch’s case to the adult court system. Eighteen-year-old Ethan Couch, also known as the “affluenza teen,” could be eligible for release on bond.
The Inquisitr reports that Couch was already awaiting his adult court date, February 19, while sitting in an adult prison the entire time.
According to Reuters, the hearing was to decide if Ethan Couch’s case would stay in the juvenile court despite Couch already sitting in the adult prison.
And it appears that Judge Time Menikos has decided to put Couch’s case in the adult court circuit, as the “affluenza teen” is in the process of being transferred now.
Couch will be prosecuted as an adult for killing four people while driving drunk in 2013.
A psychologist testifying for Couch’s said, “[H]e was so spoiled that he could not tell right from wrong,” describing him as being afflicted with “affluenza” — hence the “affluenza teen” label.
Couch was ridiculed for initially receiving probation for causing the death of four other teens while driving. Public outrage ensued as Ethan seemingly would go unpunished, for the most part, for his actions.
Couch has been on the run in Mexico since he was caught in January. Ethan and his Mother, Tonya Couch, will face up to 10 years in prison for helping her son flee to Mexico.
The fugitive mother and son fled the United States together to avoid Ethan’s arrest for violating his probation following an incriminating photo of him playing “beer pong” with friends.
Alcohol appeared to have fueled Couch’s night — a clear violation of his probation — and prosecutors have been examining the video ever since.
The Couch family had recently made headlines, as reports of Ethan’s father, Fred Couch, allegedly choking his girlfriend on Friday night have emerged. According to the Inquisitr, authorities were called to his home, but no charges were filed.
Amid the side story of Fred Couch’s domestic abuse issues, his son, Ethan, faces an array of other ultimatums regarding his case.
Besides potentially being released on bond, Couch could serve up to 120 days in prison for his quadruple manslaughter, Reuters added, which is presumably the second best sentence that the “affluenza teen” can hope for.
In addition, Tarrant County district attorney spokeswoman Samantha Jordan also proposed an even more unlikely outcome for Couch,
“Judge Menikos can also choose to let him go with conditions,” she said.
However, prosecutors want the case to recognize his probation violation, which could end up with Couch serving up to 40 years in prison.
And when Couch turns 19 in April, the district court judge could set new conditions for the case altogether. As to what these conditions would be? The verdict isn’t out yet, but ABC News reports that if he violates probation as an adult, then the penalty will be higher than any probation sentences he received as a juvenile.
Ethan was only 16 at the time of the crash and had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times above the legal limit.
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said he would be surprised if Couch is released on Friday.
“But you never know. That is not my call to make,” he said.
What do you think? Can Couch’s defense really rest on not knowing the difference from right and wrong? Is having affluenza a valid excuse for his actions?
[Photo by LM Otero/AP]