12/14/2013 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Texas – A teen’s sentencing for charges related to a fatal DWI wreck have sparked controversy due to claims that he had “affluenza,” an unrecognized condition experts say should not be used as an excuse for unacceptable behavior.

A judge sentenced 16-year-old Ethan Couch to 10 years of probation for killing four pedestrians while driving drunk. A psychologist in the case testified that due to couch having “affluenza,” he should not be given the maximum 20-year sentence. The term is used to describe children who engage in irresponsible behaviors due to their developing a sense of entitlement from a wealthy upbringing. Jessie O’Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, popularized “affluenza” in the 1990s with her book, “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.”

Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising, is quoted as stating of the decision of District Judge Jean Boyd who issued Couch’s sentence, “Essentially what he (the judge) has done is slapped this child on the wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be responsible for in any other situation… The defense is laughable, the disposition is horrifying … not only haven’t the parents set any consequences, but it’s being reinforced by the judge’s actions.”

This report is provided by Justice News Flash – Texas Legal News

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