'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Given Two-Year Jail Sentence, America Rejoices

By McCarton Ackerman 04/14/16

Couch received four consecutive 180-day jail terms, one for each of the four people he killed while driving drunk in 2013.

 'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Given Two-Year Jail Sentence, America Rejoices
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A classic case of schadenfreude took over the country on Wednesday as infamous “affluenza” teen, Ethan Couch, was ordered to spend the next two years in a county jail for violating the terms of his probation.

ABC News reports that State District Judge Wayne Salvant imposed four consecutive 180-day jail terms on the 19-year-old—one for each of the four people he killed while driving drunk in June 2013. Couch was originally sentenced to 10 years' probation after his defense team successfully argued that he suffered from “affluenza,” meaning that his privileged upbringing had left him unable to fully grasp the consequences of his actions. But Couch squandered his opportunity to avoid jail time. He was found to have violated his probation last December after a video of him playing an underage game of beer pong surfaced online. Things got even worse after he and his mother went AWOL, fleeing to Mexico and evading authorities for several weeks.

Salvant gave Couch's defense team two weeks to gather evidence for a possible reconsideration of his sentence. Although he said that “nothing I do is in stone,” the judge flatly told Couch that “you’re not getting out of jail today.” His appearance marked his first in adult court. His case was transferred out of the juvenile system after he turned 19 earlier this week.

His mother, Tonya, who was at the sentencing, was charged in January with hindering the apprehension of a felon. If convicted, she faces a prison sentence of two to 10 years. She is currently under house arrest, according to Fox News.

Tonya and her husband, Fred, were slammed for their lack of parenting skills ever since this case broke three years ago. In video footage obtained by ABC News and released last October, Tonya revealed that she couldn’t remember the last time she disciplined her son. The couple allowed their son to drive at age 13 and would often leave him unsupervised at home, where he had easy access to drugs and alcohol, for long stretches of time.

Couch's drunk-driving case sparked national outrage after news of his successful "affluenza" defense made headlines. Dr. Gary Miller had testified that “he never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you send them money.” Miller also said the teen had an “intellectual age” of 18, but an “emotional age” of 12.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.