Ethan Couch Loses Fight To Duck Sentence

Ethan Couch is brought into Judge Wayne Salvant's court for Couch's adult court hearing at Tim Curry Justice Center in Fort Worth.
Ethan Couch is brought into Judge Wayne Salvant's court for Couch's adult court hearing at Tim Curry Justice Center in Fort Worth.
EPA/MAX FAULKNER/POOL via Newscom

Late Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court denied Ethan Couch's request to be released from Tarrant County jail.

Couch and his attorneys argued that District Judge Wayne Salvant didn't have the authority to sentence the 20-year-old. The judge gave Couch two years in jail last spring after receiving the case from juvenile court.

In 2013, another Tarrant County judge, Jean Boyd, sentenced Couch to 10 years probation for killing four people and seriously injuring two others in a drunken truck crash. The case drew national outrage for the light sentence and the tactics of Couch's defense team, who called an expert to testify that Couch suffered from "affluenza,"  basically an inability to tell right from wrong do to his parents refusal to place boundaries on his behavior.

Two-and-a-half years later, in December 2015, a video surfaced on Twitter of Couch playing beer pong. Fearful that his probation would be revoked, Couch and his mother threw a goodbye party and took off for Mexico. Once in Puerto Vallarta, Couch inadvertently gave away his location to authorities when he ordered pizza from a Domino's using an iPhone being tracked by Mexican and American authorities,

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After Couch's extradition from Mexico, Salvant sentenced him to 180 days for each victim he killed as a condition of his transfer to adult court. Couch's attorneys have claimed that, because juvenile probation is technically a civil matter, Salvant should not have sentenced Couch in a criminal court.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hailed the Texas Supreme Court decision. "While MADD is ecstatic that Ethan and his lawyers’ ludicrous motion was denied by the Texas Supreme Court, this is far from a victory," the group said in a statement.

Couch is set to be released from jail next year.

In related news, the notorious case made its way to Jeopardy! this week.


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