Affluenza Teen Ethan Couch Could Remain In Mexico For Months, According To His Attorney
Odds are you’ve heard the name Ethan Couch by now, because boy, is this guy all over the news or what? It all started in 2013, when then Texas teen killed four people in a drunk driving accident, but got off with probation thanks in part to his defense’s argument that he’d been stunted by his privileged, accountability-free upbringing. Then, last month, he disappeared following an apparent probation violation, and was discovered in Mexico with his mother weeks later. And now, it sounds like it could take longer to get him back than you might assume: Ethan Couch could stay in Mexico for days or months, according to ABC News.
Basically, how quickly the notorious “affluenza” teen actually gets back to the states to face the music depends on whether or not he tries to fight the extradition, according to his Mexican defense attorney Fernando Benitez (Couch can’t be represented by his American attorneys until he returns to the U.S.). If he doesn’t, then he could be back in mere days. If he does, then it could be months more. To be clear, it’s not yet known what avenue Couch will take, as he hasn’t yet spoken to Benitez ― they’re scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning to discuss how they'll move forward.
Needless to say, what happens to Couch whenever he's returned will be big news, as few drunk driving-related news stories have garnered quite as much infamy and controversy as his. Despite the four dead (and 12 more injured) in the 2013 wreck, he was sentenced to just ten years of probation, stipulating that he was forbidden from driving or consuming drugs and alcohol. The sentence was handed down by former district judge Jean Boyd, who absorbed a lot of criticism ― especially in light of recent reporting by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which detailed a different fatal drunk-driving case in which she sentenced a teen to 20 years behind bars.
There's also no certainty about what degree of punishment Couch will receive whenever he returns. The authorities currently believe that he and his mother plotted a deliberate scheme to leave the country after video surfaced alleging to show him playing beer pong at a party, which would be a clear violation of his probation. But, as CNN detailed, because the violation occurred while Couch was a juvenile, it's possible that he'll only be eligible for 120 days in adult jail, or four months. That possibility came as a bitter pill to Tarrant County district attorney Sharen Anderson, who decried the possibility of yet another soft sentence: "He doesn't believe the rules apply to him, he doesn't believe the laws apply to him."