Here’s the story from CBS News.
A Texas teenager killed four people while driving drunk in June. Prosecutors pushed for a 20-year sentence, but a judge sentenced the teen to 10 years probation and no jail time.
[…]A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen was a product of something he called “affluenza.” He meant [Ethan] Couch doesn’t link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege.
That psychologist cited one instance when Couch, then 15, was caught in a parked pickup with a naked 14-year-old girl who was passed out. Couch was never punished, the psychologist said. He also testified the teenager was allowed to drink at a very young age and began driving at 13.
Investigators said surveillance tape showed Couch and his friends stealing beer from a Walmart store in June.
After leaving a party, police said Couch had his pickup going nearly 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. About 400 yards down the street, he slammed into Holly and Shelby Boyles, who had stopped to help Breanna Mitchell fix a flat tire.
Youth Pastor Brian Jennings was driving by and had also stopped to help. All of them were killed. Couch was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and tried as a juvenile.
[…]Boyles said the verdict doesn’t give victims’ family the justice they need for closure.
“My immediate reaction is I’m back to week one,” he said. “We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window.”
You can read more about State District Judge Jean Boyd here. I can’t believe that this woman is a judge in Texas, of all places.
I was listening to Dennis Prager talk about this at lunch on Thursday, and I wanted to relay two points that came up. First, Prager noted that the judge was a woman, and that women tend to focus more on compassion and non-judgmentalism than men. Men tend to focus more on justice and moral standards. Men tend to believe that punishing evil harshly is the right thing to do because it deters future crimes. Men also tend to believe that punishing evil sends a message to the rest of society about what is wrong, which deters future crimes. What message does this judge’s sentence send to 16-year-old boys? It says “you can kill four innocent people and injure a fifth and get off Scot-free”.
Second, a caller to the show said that if the murderer is deemed not responsible because of what his parents did to him, then why are the parents not being punished for it? That’s a good question, and it prompts me to think about what real justice in the case might look like. Here is what real justice would look like, from someone who is not affected by the crime. First, disbar the judge so that she cannot practice law in Texas. Second, give the murderer the 20-year sentence sought by the prosecution. Third, confiscate every penny of the assets of the parents, and distribute it to the families of the victims. That is not lenient, but it would be restitution, which ought to be one of the functions of the law.