Lawyers for Ethan Couch said the “affluenza” teen could sue the judge who sentenced him for sentencing him.
Attorney William Reagan Wynn told Judge David Evans that Judge Wayne Salvant was wrong to sentence Couch as an adult. Wynn said in a motion juvenile cases are considered civil matters and thus the case had no place in Salvant’s court, Courthouse News Service reported.
The attorney argued his client had been illegally jailed. Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert said the argument didn’t make any sense, adding the case ceased to be a civil matter when it was transferred to Salvant’s court.
Evans took the matter under advisement.
Couch, 19, was sentenced to two years in prison in April for violating parole — 180 days for each of his victims. Couch killed four people in a 2013 Burleson, Texas, drunk driving accident that also injured several other people. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
During his trial, a psychologist testified Couch was a victim of “affluenza” — because of his family’s wealth, he didn’t know there were consequences for bad behavior.
He was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and initially sentenced to 10 years probation and therapy even though he could have faced 20 years in state prison. The sentence sparked nationwide outrage.
He fled to Mexico last year with his mother after a video seemed to show him drinking alcohol and playing beer pong. One of the conditions of his probation was that he was prohibited from consuming alcohol. They were arrested in December and deported. His mother, Tonya, 49, faces charges for helping her son flee to Mexico and financing the trip with $30,000.
Salvant’s sentence also prohibits Couch from driving, taking drugs or consuming alcohol once he completes his sentence, KTVT, Dallas, reported. He also will be required to find a job.
Couth was transferred from a maximum-security jail in Tarrant County to a less restrictive facility in May, WFAA-TV, Dallas, reported.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported although his parents’ wealth was a major factor in his defense, the county wound up paying for his therapy. The county paid $200,000 for Couch’s treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon and then in The Next Step Program in Amarillo.