Judge Sentences 'Affluenza' Afflicted Teen Ethan Couch to Rehab in Undisclosed Facility; Media Banned From Courtroom

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By Leonardo Blair , CP Reporter
February 5, 2014|9:17 pm
Ethan Couch
(Photo: Screen Grab via ABC News)
Ethan Couch, 16.

After banning media from courtroom proceedings Wednesday, Texas State District Judge Jean Boyd reportedly sentenced "affluenza" afflicted teen Ethan Couch, 16, to rehab in an undisclosed facility for causing the deaths of four people, including a pastor, in a drunken crash last summer.

Scott Gordon, a reporter for NBC 5, revealed the ruling and situation at the courthouse in a series of tweets on Twitter.

"Ethan Couch attorney says judge ordered Couch to rehabilitation facility. No minimum time. He won't discuss specifics," noted Gordon after the sentencing.

The case attracted national attention last year after Judge Boyd, who could have sentenced the teen to up to 20 years in jail, bought arguments from Ethan's defense attorney that he should not be held responsible for the deaths of the four people he caused because he was a victim of his parents' wealth. They argued that he suffered from a controversial condition some therapists loosely call "affluenza." The concept, they argued, made it difficult for the teen to distinguish between right and wrong.

Newport Academy
(Photo: newportacademy.com)
The swanky Newport Academy male residential rehabilitation center in California where drunk driver Ethan Couch, 16, is expected to atone for the deadly crash that left four dead and nine people injured in Texas in June.

Judge Boyd accepted the argument and ordered Couch to undergo alcohol rehabilitation and serve 10 years' probation. He was expected to be sent to a swanky rehabilitation center called Newport Academy in California, where his parents would pay $36,000 per month for a year of treatment. He would also undergo another year of outpatient treatment.

Whether he was sent there for rehabilitation Wednesday, however, is still unknown.

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According to Gordon, Ethan's defense attorney said Wednesday that "affluenza" did not play a role in the judge's decision Wednesday.

"Couch attorney Reagan Wynn blasted media coverage of sentence. Says 'affluenza' had nothing to do with it," Tweeted Gordon.

Judge Boyd also denied a request from prosecutors for additional jail time for the teen in charges stemming from survivors of the crash.

Contact: leonardo.blair@christianpost.com; follow me on Twitter @leoblair
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