The psychologist who convinced a Texas judge that 16-year-old Ethan Couch was too rich to know right from wrong says he shouldn't have used the word "affluenza," but insists his defense of the teen was otherwise sound.
On June 15, Couch and his friends stole some beer from a Fort Worth-area Walmart and proceed to get extremely drunk. Couch then got behind the wheel of his Ford F-350, and drove down Burleson Retta Road at nearly twice the speed limit with over three times the legal limit for alcohol in his bloodstream as well as Valium. It was then that Couch slammed his pickup into four people standing next to a parked car by the side of the road — three of whom had stopped to help the fourth with a flat tire.
All four were killed, and two teens riding in the bed of Couch's vehicle were severely injured.
Psychologist G. Dick Miller defended Couch's actions, telling District Judge Jean Boyd that the teen was a victim of his parents affluence.
He called Couch's condition "affluenza."
"I wish I hadn't used that term. Everyone seems to have hooked onto it," Miller said on last night's Anderson Cooper 360. "We used to call these people spoiled brats."
Though he regrets the language he used, Miller doesn't regret the actual defense.
When Miller pointed out to Cooper that a violation of Couch's probation would mean up to 10 years in prison, Cooper pointed out to Miller that the same judge previously ordered a black teen to be locked up for 10 years for the accidental killing of one person.
"Why is that OK, for a 14-year-old poor kid, but for a 16-year-old well-off kid, they get to go off they get to go have equine therapy," Cooper wondered, referencing Couch's upcoming $500k rehab-cation, paid in full by his father.
"There actually are Black people who have money, Anderson," Miller replied. "I don’t know why you continue to make this a racial thing...if you have a lot of money, you get people with more skills...that's just the way the world works. And there’s some good things about that, some not-so-good things."
On Wednesday night, Anderson Cooper spoke with the man whose wife and daughter were two of Couch's victims.
"There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day," Eric Boyles told Cooper. "The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can’t buy justice in this country, that it’s not okay to drink and drive and kill four people, and severely injure another, and not have any consequences. That’s not the American dream that we grew up to participate in."
[videos via Raw Story, CNN]