Bob Bianchi recently appeared on Fox News Happening Now with host @JennaLeeUSA to discuss with co-guest @LisWiehl the insane “Affluenza” case, involving Ethan Couch.
As a backdrop, the juvenile was intoxicated and drove a car recklessly, and was in an accident that killed 4 people and injured 9 others. It was a terrible tragedy.
At trial, the defense attorney was allowed to present testimony from a psychiatrist about the defendant suffering from “affluenza” a condition defined by that doctor as one where the young man was raised with such privilege and whose parents did not teach him to be responsible, and that was the reason for his actions on that fatal night. This is NOT a recognized medical diagnosis, but the judge in contravention to anything we have seen as NJ trial attorneys, former NJ Prosecutors, and as Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys, allowed that testimony to come into evidence. Both myself and Lis Wiehl (who is a former Federal Prosecutor) are befuddled by this as you will see in this segment on Fox News.
In the end, due in part to this testimony, the juvenile only received probation and no jail time. While on probation, he is alleged to have violated the conditions of same by drinking and failing to appear at the probation department. Knowing he was going to be arrested for violating his probation, it is alleged that he and his mother fled to Mexico to evade judicial process in the US.
They were both captured and the mother is being charged with aiding and abetting his escape and hindering his apprehension. She faces 10 years in prison on this charge.
Check out the clip of me and Lis discussing this case, as I think it is interesting. What bothers me most as a former head NJ County Prosecutor is that after receiving such lenient treatment after killing and injuring so many people, that they thumbed their noses at the court and probation thereafter.
And as to this affluenza defense, I am sickened by it for a number of reasons. Perhaps foremost is that many defendants come from homes where there is not affluence. No money, no decent education, no decent employment opportunities, from broken families, living in drug and gang infested areas. These are the people to me that deserve consideration when they run afoul of the law. Not a kid who has all the benefits society can give. To treat an affluent person any better than the so many others that go to jail on far less serious offenses is offensive to me in all ways.
And in truth, this is one of the reasons people from the minority community call out injustice when such matters occur- -and in some instances they are right. Having practiced as a NJ criminal trial attorney, and especially as a head NJ County Prosecutor for over half of my career, I have seen this kind of reasoning by some in the justice system. What I mean by that is that the same crime committed by defendants from 2 different socio-economic and racial backgrounds, being treated differently in the justice system.
When I was Prosecutor, I never allowed this to occur. It is an outrage and the public I hope would see it as such, as well.
Check out the clip, it was a hot segment!