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Thread: The Defence of Affluenza

  1. #1
    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    Default The Defence of Affluenza

    A Texas teenager has evaded 20 years in prison with the 'diagnosis' he was suffering from 'affluenza'; a seeming condition that only affects the rich and famous. Ethan Couch was responsible for the deaths of 4 people and seriously injuring two more, while driving drunk in 2013. Perhaps the key element of this case rested upon the psychologist's evidence, which stated the pressures of being rich were indicative of why Couch did what he did. In an interview after the case Psychologist Dick Miller agreed that in the past 'affluenza' would be best described as a 'spoilt brat'. Following public outrage of the teenager's 10 year suspended sentence last year, prosecutors vehemently tried to argue Couch should be imprisoned based on the seriousness of his crimes. The judge again ignored usual legal practice and instead sentenced Couch to 'attend an undisclosed rehabilitation facility', which has been revealed to be more like a holiday camp than a correctional facility. The psychologist's testimony seems to have been overly relied upon in determining the sentencing of Couch as this second sitting, and much was done in mitigating Couch's crime based on the psychologist's report: "Lawyers for Couch, 16, had argued that the teen's parents should share part of the blame for the crash because they never set limits for the boy and gave him everything he wanted." In consequence of the failings of the parents, they were ordered to pay the $450,000-a-year costs at the Californian resort, sorry, facility. No order to pay for the funeral and medical costs of the victims was made however.

    In an interview with Anderson Cooper the psychologist stated that going to prison was not the best option for this individual, where he would have access to all the influences that had a bearing on his crime. How is that punishment in any form? asks Cooper "I'm not interested in how much punishment he gets, I'm interested in taking away with things that are important to him and replacing them with things that are in his best interest, and I believe that this facility with the ratio that they have, because they only have seven young men there, and they are isolated from women, isolated from x-box, they are isolated from television, they are isolated from all the things that they're accustomed to having. No transportation. All the things that are important to them. Not what's important to us. He will not have access to alcohol and drugs." It is clear from this interview that the welfare of Couch was paramount due to his suffering from the pressures of being rich, and it is truly remarkable this testimony was accepted as medical fact in a court of law in relation to such a serious and devastating crime. But is replacing of Couch's liberty of wealth with a system that control the access of wealth in any way addressing the crime and the punishment of it? It seems more a system designed to make Couch more appreciative of his station in life, and the advantages and luxuries he has access to without restraint. Indeed, despite Couch admitting his responsibility in the crime, even though there was no dispute about it, this sentence has instead been tailored to protect Couch from the reality of his crime, and any form of punishment for his ignorance, recklessness with regard to other people's safety and the value of life has been completely ignored. When Cooper reflected the usual outcome for juveniles who commit similar crimes end up in the criminal justice system, Dick Miller replies, "Shame on our country for that."

    I really cannot see how this man was being impartial in any way in relation to the nature of the crime and the presentation of his diagnosis in court? It is as though the victims have been completely removed from the criminal proceedings, and the welfare of the criminal has been made paramount to protect him from the stark realities of criminal justice. Indeed, I would agree that prison is not the best option for any one if the object is rehabilitation. However, justice cannot be seen to be operating in such a biased and prejudiced manner, where the defendant transforms into the victim; as the effects upon society would be obvious if similar cases follow this trend. In the manner of how this teenager has evaded prison, and based upon the defence, this is undoubtedly a shameful episode in American legal history.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...il-second-time
    Last edited by eatmywords; 02-07-2014 at 10:52 AM.
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

  2. #2
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    That smells heavily of good old southern style,." Look after the rich kids who live on the hill, or dady might not be pleased". To me. It,s just amazing what lengths they have to go to nowadays to get a result. God forbid such thinking could be accepted in this particular way, in our judicial system.
    Last edited by Mack; 02-07-2014 at 07:18 PM.

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