Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Evidence of A Dual Judicial System – Teen in Texas Kills Four People, Gets Probation

Of Course He is From a Wealthy Family – What Did You Think?

About a month ago a court freed a person named Michael Skakel who was serving a long sentence for murder.  Mr. Skakel was freed and given a new trial.  His complaint, he had inadequate representation in his first trial and deserved another trial.  His background, Mr. Skakel was from a wealthy family that had spent millions on his defense, presumably he was defended with  the best that  money could buy. 

In a nation that routinely sentences low income criminals to long prison terms or death despite having incompetent legal representation, it is readily evident that even in a harsh law and order state like Texas the wealthy are not subject to the same legal system as the rest of us.  Here is what one teenager did near Houston.

Prosecutors said Mr. Couch swerved off Burleson-Retta Road, killing four pedestrians: Breanna Mitchell; Hollie Boyles and her daughter Shelby, 21; and Brian Jennings. Tests showed that Mr. Couch had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24, three times the legal limit for drivers.

Hollie and Shelby Boyles had left their house that night to assist Ms. Mitchell, a stranger whose car had broken down. “I’m sure the judge is doing what she thinks is probably right for Ethan’s rehabilitation,” said Eric Boyles, Shelby’s father and Hollie’s husband. “But from the victims’ standpoint, she underestimated the impact. Words can’t describe how disappointed I am in terms of how the judicial system works.”

Two teenagers riding in the bed of the pickup were thrown from the vehicle. One of them, Sergio Molina, 15, suffered a severe brain injury and remains in a minimally responsive state. His family filed a suit against Mr. Couch, his parents and his father’s company.

Prosecutors asked for a 20 year jail sentence, which seems about right. 

The judge, Jean Boyd, on Tuesday declined to give the teenager, Ethan Couch, the punishment sought by Tarrant County prosecutors — 20 years in prison — and instead ordered him to be placed in a long-term treatment facility while on probation. Judge Boyd did not discuss her reasoning for her order, but it came after a psychologist called by the defense argued that Mr. Couch should not be sent to prison because he suffered from “affluenza” — a term that dates at least to the 1980s to describe the psychological problems that can afflict children of privilege.

So Texas, which leads the nation in capital punishment would seem to have this kind of judicial system.  Be a wealthy person or from a wealthy family and “affluenza” allows you to kill and you get sentenced to a nice, luxurious treatment facility.  Be a low income minority and for the same crime expect life imprisonment.  After all in addition to your crimes you also have committed the crime of being a minority and having a low income.  In Texas that alone demands a lengthy sentence.

Justice may be blind, but it knows the smell of money.

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