Last week I wrote about Ethan Crouch - a 16 year old kid here in Fort Worth, Texas, who killed four people and critically injured two more while driving drunk. Crouch plead guilty to the charges and, in exchange, got a sentence of 10 years probation. He killed four people and got 10 years probation.
In my original post I said I thought he should have at least gone to a juvenile detention facility until he was 21 so that he understands that all actions have consequences. Instead, the judge ordered him into rehab and his parents sent him off to a posh, expensive facility somewhere in California. Not such a terrible punishment for multiple murder.
Last week I didn't think Crouch should go to prison for 20 years - the penalty he was facing during trial. But now I'm not so sure. I have learned since then that just a few months before the fatal accident, Crouch was arrested for a DUI and at that time he had a 14 year old girl, passed out drunk and undressed, on the seat next to him. Apparently his parents did nothing about it.
Crouch's defense attorney claimed Crouch was a victim of "afluenza" - a rich kid with no boundaries and therefore he wasn't at fault for the deaths of the four victims and his friend being paralyzed from the neck down. It seems the judge must have bought the defense (or the defense bought the judge) because she decided Crouch wouldn't get appropriate therapy in prison. That may very well be true but what 16 year old kid of average income would get that kind of break?
Maybe judge Jean Boyd was thinking more as a mom than a judge. I have no idea. And one can only guess that the DUI charge was probably inadmissible in the case. Again - who knows? But after researching the case a little it is my opinion that this kid literally got away with murder.
Only the judge herself knows why she handed out the slap on the wrist to Ethan Crouch. Maybe she feels like prison will destroy his life. Maybe the kid's parents got to her. Maybe she's just a liberal judge who doesn't believe in prison.
Maybe she should consider the family members of the victims instead.
As I said - any other kid of average means most likely would have gone straight to a juvenile facility. Ethan Crouch gets the second chance at life that his victims didn't get.
If his attorney said it was his parents' fault and the judge seemingly agreed - what charges do the parents face? Want to bet the answer is "none"? One can't help but wonder if they contributed to the judge's campaign...
The one good thing about all of this is that Judge Boyd has said she will not seek re-election. Her term expires on December 31st and she won't be running again. I think that's a good thing. Except maybe for the next "Ethan Crouch."