Media reports on the probation sentence imposed Feb. 6 on an affluent Texas teen charged with killing four people in a drunk-driving incident featured insights from Senior Associate Dean Daniel Filler.
Texas District Judge Jean Boyd ordered the teen, Ethan Couch, to go to an expensive rehabilitation facility instead of prison. Couch’s attorney had argued that the 16-year-old should not be held accountable for the deaths because he suffered from “affluenza,” having been so pampered that he could not make good decisions.
Filler, an expert on criminal law, said in remarks published by the Christian Science Monitor and the Patriot News of Central Pennsylvania on Feb. 6 that the outcome of the case, with Couch heading toward an expensive rehabilitation facility at his parents’ expense, should not come as a surprise.
"It's hard to object to parents who do everything in their power to help their son,” Filler said. “But this is the true nature of 'affluenza': Only wealthy parents can pay to divert their child from a run-down jail into a fancy in-patient rehab facility."