For those not already familiar with Ethan Couch and his purportedly “affluenza” induced troubles, the crass summary is: A sixteen year-old Texas boy who killed four people while drunk-driving was sentenced to ten years probation at luxury counseling center (featuring “equine therapy”) after the defense successfully argued his extremely wealthy parents had so indulged him, he’d lost the ability to understand the relationship between action and consequence.
A more detailed account can be found here:
The reaction to the Couch verdict has been widespread, loud, and almost unanimously negative. And now the case is creeping into the Texas gubernatorial race.
According to WFAA, the ABC affiliate in Dallas, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor have expressed concern over the judge’s decision.
The Republican candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced that his office will be looking into the Couch case, to determine whether or not the sentence can be appealed.
While Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis called the judge’s decision a “disgrace,” at an event celebrating the opening of her campagin headquarters, continuing:
“I don’t know what can be done after the fact in terms of that decision, but most certainly from a legislative perspective, we’ve got to look at the fact that judges are able to make decisions like that and determine whether we need to make some adjustments in the law,” Davis said.
Judge Jean Boyd has been the subject of intense scrutiny in the last few days. Her critics have focused attention on a 2012 ruling Boyd made in the case of a 14 year-old African-American boy, whose unprovoked punch resulted in the death of a stranger. Mark Gregory, 40 years-old, was thrown off balance by the punch, and fell to the pavement, dying two days later. Boyd sentenced the 14 year-old to ten years in juvenile jail.
A petition at change.org, asking current Governor Rick Perry to remove Judge Jean Boyd from the bench has gained over 7,000 signatures at the time of this writing.