Affluenza-Riddled Teen Ethan Couch Is Coming Home

Ethan Couch is expected to end his long Mexican vacation this week. The 18-year-old killer drunk driver has been south of the border since the beginning of December, after a viral video of Couch playing beer pong appeared on Twitter and he then missed an appointment with his probation officer. His mother, who went with the teen to Mexico, is already back, having been released from Tarrant County on $75,000 bail following her arrest for helping her son disappear.

So far, Couch has managed to stay in Mexico by invoking something called a writ of amparo — the Mexican equivalent of the writ of habeas corpus — something that's available to anyone, citizen or not, in Mexico to make sure their civil rights are upheld. His attorney in Mexico, Fernando Benitez, told The Associated Press Tuesday that his client was dropping his effort to stave off deportation to Tarrant County.

“I have people at the courthouse … waiting for notification that the appeal has formally been dropped. Once the injunction is removed, they will deport Ethan in 24 or 48 hours. 

“I gave him several options, but he decided to go to Texas to face whatever charges he faces,” Benitez told the AP.

Couch's decision will ensure that he returns to the United State in time for a February 19 hearing that will likely transfer the 10-year probated sentence he received in juvenile court for killing four people to adult court. When that happens, he'll face a maximum of 120 days in jail as a potential condition of his new adult probation. Because his flight to Mexico occurred while his case was still in juvenile court, Couch will not face any additional time for his Mexican sojourn.

After initially heading to Puerto Vallarta, Couch was arrested after he ordered pizza from a Mexican Domino's. United States marshals tipped Mexican authorities as to the Couches' potential whereabouts, and mother and son were picked up on the street near the hotel room they were renting. Couch has been locked up in a Mexico City detention center ever since.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young