Most people were justifiably outraged when Judge Jean Boyd of Texas “sentenced” a young man responsible for the deaths of 4 people and leaving 2 more brain damaged to a posh treatment spa for 1 year, instead of the 20 years in jail recommended by prosecutors. The defense of “affluenza” – a made-up psychological condition not in any diagnostic manual – was successful and the families of the human beings slaughtered by Ethan Couch, a 16 year old driving drunk were victimized a second time.
You have to feel broken hearted for the families of the victims. Justice was their only consolation and justice was denied by Judge Boyd, who may have been a better argument for affluenza. There is little one can say about this miscarriage of justice, except perhaps to point out that the poor, and especially African-Americans suffer this type of injustice on a regular basis. One need not ask “what if Couch were black?” because Judge Boyd has a record in this regard. Just last year she sentenced a 14 year old African-American boy to 12 years in jail for punching a man once which resulted in his death. One cannot deny that killing any human being should result in punishment, nor can one deny that punishments are not the same when your family has money.
Judge Jean Boyd was no doubt elected to office and is just the kind of judge the Chamber of Commerce would endorse and help fund. Money corrupts the justice system just as easily as the political system, one only need look to the Michigan Supreme Court and its sterling record of ruling in favor of corporations over individuals 90% of the time for a more local example.
It’s sad, but true that in a sense our justice system is suffering from affluenza.