In June 2013, a 16-year-old boy and some friends stole some beer from a north Texas store. The youths imbibed until (at least) the driver of their vehicle was three times over the legal blood / alcohol level in the state of Texas.
In June 2013, a 16-year-old boy and some friends stole some beer from a north Texas store. The youths imbibed until (at least) the driver of their vehicle was three times over the legal blood / alcohol level in the state of Texas. The driver, named Ethan, then proceeded to drive while highly intoxicated which tragically resulted in his killing four hapless pedestrians by running his truck into them. These are the facts of this horrible tragedy and the only real question in everyone's mind was what amount of punishment would Texas District Court Judge Jean Boyd dole out to young Ethan for his crimes?
That was before Ethan's defense attorneys called psychologist Gary Miller to testify for their young client. Miller's testimony began with Ethan's privileged upbringing in his affluent north Texas family. The subsequent divorce of his parents and his parent's efforts at helping young Ethan adjust to his new family dynamic.
Miller testified that both parents participated in over indulging their son's every wish and whim. The over indulgence by his parents (according to the prosecution) was primarily in the form of both parents buying anything the boy wanted. Psychologist Gary Miller deduced that young Ethan lost his sense of right and wrong by this constant over indulgence. Mr. Miller testified that 16-year-old Ethan was suffering from what he diagnosed as "Affluenza."
At the conclusion of the trial, Texas District Court Judge Jean Boyd found Ethan guilty of the crime for which he was charged and ordered him to undergo 10 years of probation. Instead of serving any of the 20 year prison sentence he was facing under Texas law. She also ordered that the boy was to attend a $45,000, 90-day drug and alcohol treatment facility in California.
For those of us without a psychologist like Gary Miller who uses ridiculously silly medical diagnosis (excuses) to explain away our guilt to a gullible judge... we would be sent to prison!
This country's jails and prisons are filled with folks who believed they were above the law and the law didn't apply to them (Ethan would not be unique). Young Ethan probably didn't believe that nonsense anyway.
I say he probably didn't believe he would be caught while breaking the law. He more than likely chose to break the law regardless of the consequences because his family was wealthy enough to get him out of whatever trouble he got into while breaking the law. Unfortunately it seems Ethan's trust in the American judicial system was absolutely correct.
Four people are dead, what justice did they and their family's receive by this Texas court's decision?
This court's message to wealthy kids is that if you break the law you can get away with anything if your family has enough money.
If we were to follow this judge's decision to a logical conclusion it would be that if sixteen year olds can't be held responsible for vehicular crimes they should not be given the responsibility of driving a car in the first place.
I say if Ethan was a poor young white kid from a bad neighborhood in Texas he would be going to prison for awhile. Unfortunately if he were a poor black, Hispanic or minority kid from Texas he would be going to prison for a very long time.
If I ever murder someone I am hiring psychologist Gary Miller to diagnose and testify on my behalf. Maybe he can convince my judge that I suffer from, "Gottakillitis" because my dad bought me a BB gun when I was twelve!