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Teen Escapes Full Sentence Because of 'Affluenza'

A Texas teenager will not be put in jail for drunk driving last year and killing four people and seriously wounding two others. His defense attorneys build the teen’s case on the fact that the defendant suffers from “affluenza,” meaning he has been coddled too much by his wealthy parents. The attorneys argued that the affluenza means that the teen is disillusioned, having never been held accountable for his actions. As crazy as this defense seems, it worked.

District Judge Jean Boyd ruled that the sixteen-year-old teen would get 10 years probation for the deaths instead of going to prison. Additionally, he must get long-term psychological and addiction treatment. The teen’s parents are sending him to a rehabilitation center in California that will cost them upwards of $450,000 a year. It is not clear how long the teen will stay there, but it will cost a pretty penny for the time he is a resident.

Last week, Judge Boyd turned down requests from prosecutors to put the teen in jail for 20 years. They issued this request based on the two young teens that survived the crash. One of the survivors suffered a traumatic brain injury that has left them unable to move or talk.

The hearing was closed last Wednesday, so the details of the arguments are unclear. However, one of the teen’s attorneys praised Judge Boyd for “making an appropriate decision in a tragic case that was distorted by the media.” Meanwhile the prosecution told reports that “the teen showed no remorse during the two-hour proceedings…[we have] little confidence the rehabilitation will reform the youth’s behavior.”

The teen’s blood alcohol count was three times the legal limit for an adult at the time of the crash.

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