"Affluenza Defense" Used To Avoid Prison Sentence In Teen's Dead - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

"Affluenza Defense" Used To Avoid Prison Sentence In Teen's Deadly DUI Trial

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Fort Worth, TX -

The lawyer for a Texas teenager who was on trial for DUI and the deaths of 4 people used an unusual defense strategy to keep the teen out of prison.

Prosecutors and family members of victims were shocked when a judge sentenced 16-year-old Ethan Couch to ten years' probation -- with no jail time.

"Money and privilege can't buy justice in this country. That...it's not ok to drink and drive and kill four people and severely injure another and not have any consequences to that," says Eric Boyles, whose wife and daugher were killed in a crash in which

Also raising ire is the defense's strategy in the case. A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen is a product of something he called "affluenza"..."Basically that he doesn't link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege."

The judge ruled Couch would not be released to his parents, and must undergo long-term treatment at an alcohol rehab center. His father has reportedly agreed to pay roughly $500,000 to send him to a pricey rehab center in California.

Couch's attorney, Scott Brown, said the sentence will teach the teen that there are consequences for his actions. "Taking him away from his family and teaching him to be a responsible citizen -- that's a consequence," Brown said.

But, victims' family members disagree. Eric Boyles lost his wife and daughter in the accident. This verdict, he says, doesn't give victims' family the justice they need for closure. "My immediate reaction is I'm back to week one. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window."

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