Lawyers Want 'Affluenza Teen' Released From Jail

Ethan Couch's lawyers filed motion with Texas Supreme Court on Friday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2017 2:21 PM CDT
Lawyers Want 'Affluenza Teen' Released From Jail
In this 2016 photo, Ethan Couch is led by sheriff deputies after a juvenile court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas. Lawyers for Couch, who used an "affluenza" defense in a 2013 fatal drunken-driving wreck, filed a motion Friday with the Texas Supreme Court in an effort to secure his release from jail.   (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Lawyers for Ethan Couch are asking the Texas state Supreme Court to release the "affluenza teen" from jail, NBC DFW reports. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a judge sentenced Couch to 720 days in jail last April after he skipped a probation check-in and ran to Mexico with his mother. The pair went on the lam following the release of a video that apparently showed Couch partying in violation of his parole. Lawyers for Couch say the judge didn't have the authority to sentence Couch to jail time because the judge only has purview over criminal cases. They say Couch's is a civil case because it originated in juvenile court, the New York Daily News reports. Couch's case was transferred to adult court when he turned 19.

Couch was sentenced to 10 years' probation in 2013 when he crashed his pickup truck into a group of people helping a disabled vehicle. Couch was drunk at the time, and four of the people died. A psychologist defending Couch said the teen never learned the difference between right and wrong and was suffering from "affluenza" thanks to his rich upbringing. Couch's lawyers filed the motion to release him from jail last Friday. The motion has already been denied twice in lower courts. (More Ethan Couch stories.)

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