Asshole of the Day, December 12, 2013: Jean Boyd
Are there any circumstances where it would be OK to let a teen whose negligence led to the death of 4 people off without any prison time? Well, Judge Jean Boyd says yes— she gave a drunk driver probation instead of the prison sentence the prosecution wanted because the defendant was raised rich and spoiled. Really:
A Texas judge agreed with defense attorneys’ claims that a 16-year-old who killed four people while driving drunk had been given whatever he wanted by his wealthy parents and had never learned to accept responsibility for his actions.
So she sentenced him to 10 years on probation, setting aside prosecutors’ request for a 20-year prison term after the teen pleaded guilty last week to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury.
The teen’s attorneys never denied that Couch was driving the pickup or that he’d been drinking underage, but they argued that his parents should be held responsible for their son’s actions because of the way they’d raised him.
Boyd ordered the teen to undergo therapy at a long-term, in-patient facility, and his father offered to pay more than $450,000 a year for therapy at a rehabilitation center in southern California.
And if that weren’t outrageous enough, DailyKos posted that Judge Boyd didn’t show the same mercy for a young, not-rich black kid:
Judge Jean didn’t concern herself with rehabilitation and well-being when it was a 14-year old black kid who punched a guy who fell down and died. 10 years. H/t Ivycompton.
Before today “affluenza” was a joke, a punchline, but thanks to this Judge Jean Boyd, it’s now out there as a legitimate defense for spoiled rich people to be exempt from the law. Way to go, Judge!
It is Judge Jean Boyd’s first time as Asshole of the Day, but she’s not the first judge to win the title for letting a defendant off too lightly for no good reason— that honor belongs to Judge Todd Baugh, who let a 54-year-old statutory rapist off with 31 days in jail because the girl “seemed older” to the judge.
UPDATE: Judge Boyd still refuses to send rich kid to jail:
On Wednesday, prosecutors asked the court, the Associated Press reports, to sentence Couch to “20 years in state custody on charges related to two people who were severely injured.” Judge Jean Boyd, however, again declined to send the teenager to jail. According to the AP, “asking Boyd to give Couch jail time for intoxication assault was a last-ditch effort by prosecutors, who have said they have almost no way to appeal the judge’s sentence in the case.”
So, despite two months of outcry over the decision, as well as people documenting how she’s sentenced younger teenagers who weren’t rich to harsh jail sentences, she still won’t change her mind. Despicable.
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