At 16, Ethan Couch became perhaps the most notorious teen in the US walking away from four deaths he caused by driving while drunk, with just a probation.
His lawyers had managed to convince a Texas jury then that the teen suffered from “affluenza”, a condition, they argued, meant he grew up unchecked by his wealthy parents.
Now 18, he faces 10 years for breaking his probation and fleeing, with his mother, after video surfaced recently of him drinking. They were caught in Mexico.
His sentencing in 2013 had kicked up a debate whether rich, white defendants are treated much differently than poor minorities, specially African-Americans.
A very intoxicated Couch, with valium and a high level of alcohol in his blood, had mowed down four people working on a stalled car on the outskirts of Fort Worth in Texas in 2013.
His lawyers argued that he alone could not be blamed for causing the accident, he grew up without any awareness that actions have consequences. He grew up unchecked.
Psychologist G. Dick Miller, testifying in his defense, attributed Couch’s reckless behavior to “affluenza”, as a child of millionaire parents.
“Instead of the golden rule, which was ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ (Couch) was taught we have the gold, we make the rules at the Couch household,” he said in court, according to reports.
Miller has since said he regrets using that word.
Prosecutors had sought 20 years jail term from him, but he was given only 10 years probation, away from his parents, with instructions to not consume alcohol or drugs.
His disappearance earlier this month, after a video was tweeted by someone of him drinking, brought back the whole story.