Affluenza

How the rich get away with murder.

Cienna Saucedo and Peyton Quintana

By definition, affluenza is a psychological term supposedly affecting wealthy young people who have made or inherited large amounts of money, also known as the sudden-wealth syndrome. The term was made most famous through the Ethan Couch case.

According to HuffPost Crime, in June 2013, 16-year-old Ethan Couch was driving while under the influence, resulting in four deaths and several injuries.

The Chicago Tribune states that, “A defense expert testified that Couch had been coddled into a sense of irresponsibility by his wealthy parents, calling the condition affluenza”.

Oxnard High School’s teacher Mr. Miguel Campos stated, “ I don’t think that [affluenza] is a legitimate defense.” “ I think parents have a big influence in their child’s life, and I think whatever the parent allows, they also encourage it by allowing something by saying it’s okay”, said Campos.

According to ABC News, Miller, who was Couch’s attorney, believed that his parents actively enabled the deadly accident.

OHS’s Ms. Maria Lobo stated, “You can’t keeping pointing that finger at the parent all the time”. “It was his choice to drink, it was his choice to get in the car”, said Lobo.

Mr. Jaime Moreno, an OHS history teacher, stated, “His parent’s money played a role in the case”.

“If his parents don’t have money, they don’t have the lifestyle they have, and he knows what’s right from wrong”, said Moreno.

According to The Huffington Post, after a video surfaced of Couch drinking at a party, he fled to Puerto Vallarta with the aid of his mother. Mexican authorities detained the Couchs in a condominium shortly after. Currently, Ethan Couch awaits deportation in Mexico City.

The leniency shown to Couch can be viewed as unfair. It was “A great abuse of our justice system”, stated Ms. Lobo. According to the CNN Wire, Ethan Couch “got a far bigger break than he deserved” and made “ the judge, and the system, look foolish”.

According to Oxnard High School junior Darien Reyes he believes, “ Due to him being rich he got an easier sentencing, and he should be treated the same way a person who is less privileged would be”. Reyes believes, “He should receive the harsher punishment due to the fact that he was the one who got in the car and fled to Mexico knowing he was violating his probation.”