Ethan Couch is in Tarrant County’s maximum-security Lon Evans Correctional Facility, and he’ll probably remain there at least until his 19th birthday next month.
A juvenile court judge gave Couch a 10-year probated punishment after a 2013 drunken-driving wreck that killed four people. He was jailed and his case was transferred to adult court last month after he and his mother fled to Mexico. He can expect new probation conditions and perhaps a jail sentence.
Nothing will change the horrible outcome of Couch’s drunken driving. Can he ever redeem himself in the public eye?
Ethan Couch doomed himself to a lifetime of scrutiny.
I do believe, though, that he has the right to lead a private life. The point of our justice system is not to punish anyone for the rest of his or her life.
Blerim Elmazi, Arlington
Christians believe that God is always forgiving and that we should forgive as well. But this can be very difficult to do when deadly tragedy strikes.
I’ve read of no remorse from him or his parents. Perhaps he had no religious training.
George J. Anthony, Fort Worth
He can’t be rehabilitated unless he gets away from both parents.
Can his image be rehabilitated? Only if he is off alcohol for years, takes responsibility and apologizes.
Anyone who willfully decides to drink and drive, and then kills four innocent people, deserves to be tried as an adult. It wasn’t premeditated murder, but it was certainly manslaughter.
Patricia A. Epperson, Fort Worth
I don’t think Couch will ever redeem himself in the public eye. He not only killed four people but harmed the young people riding with him, as well as all their families.
He evidently did not work, even at his father’s business. He fled the country with his mother and has not shown remorse. Neither parent seemed to take responsibility for their poor parenting skills.
Affluenza aside, there’s no excuse for his behavior then or now. If there was a possibility of redemption, it would have happened immediately, but certainly before his flight to Mexico. He has not exhibited behavior that, to me, would show any remorse and intent to change.
Ruth Ann Myers, Crowley
As for Ethan Couch being redeemable, yes, if he’s given a chance. Couch was 16, raised in a dysfunctional family and never disciplined by his folks. With proper professional help he can be a survivor and become a productive citizen.
Delbert Cantrell, Fort Worth
I’ve racked my mind to find some justification for empathy toward Couch, but I can’t do it. This young man deserves only the most severe punishment.
Were I imposing sentence, he would serve many years in prison and his parents should be sentenced for their utter failure.
As for the parents of the other young people in the truck: Did they know where their children were? They also bear some responsibility.
Dave Waldrop, Hurst
The future of Couch has been marred forever.
The victims of the alcohol-related deaths caused by Couch never go away. The memories will fade, but you can’t undo mistakes. You just have to go to God, ask to be forgiven and turn from alcohol and other wrongs and go on with life.
The parents have some responsibility, and others, too. We have brought up a generation that has not been taught responsibility and accountability. We are all to blame.
Jack O. Lewis, Haltom City
Both mother and son should receive significant jail time. Neither has shown remorse. I really don’t feel that such people need to roam around in society as if all is well.
Eva Snapka, Arlington
A law should be in place to keep people from ever driving again, especially after killing four innocent bystanders. Such a law would discourage would-be drunks from ever getting drunk.
Change the law and punish the parents of underage drunken drivers.
This accident was manslaughter, and detention on four counts should have prevailed.
Derek Sidwell, Fort Worth
All Ethan Couch can do is lay low for 10 or 20 years and hope we forget. If he has a middle name, he might try going by that instead of Ethan.
George Michael Sherry,
Ethan Couch should have been sent to detention the first time.
He killed four people, injured several others and got probation. I never heard the word affluenza until it came up in court.
This is total rubbish! Couch broke the law and now he should pay the price — prison! This little twit needs to see what prison life is like.
Kaye Riopelle, Fort Worth
In reality, the finger of guilt should point at Judge Jean Hudson Boyd for putting Couch on a probated punishment.
Couch was accused of delinquency in connection with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault, and prosecutors were seeking a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
What Boyd did was set a double standard for the rich and poor. What if Ethan had been an African-American, inner-city kid who grew up in a violent neighborhood to a single mother addicted to crack?
Patrick Jenkins, Arlington
Ethan Couch can never redeem himself in the public eye, particularly in Texas. His only chance for redemption is to move to another state and to keep a very low profile.
Walter H. Delashmit, Justin
The public is furious over Ethan Couch getting only probation for being responsible for the killing of four innocent victims.
Unfortunately, the cause was not “affluenza,” but the failure of parents to give proper guidance, supervision and discipline to a wayward child.
Ethan would be wise to abandon the advice of these parents and obtain proper counsel from common-sense individuals or professionals if necessary. Once he pays his dues, in accordance with our justice system, it may be possible to redeem himself in the public eye.
Grady Fuller, Kennedale
Ethan Couch’s parents taught him that he was special and that rules didn’t apply to him. His future will all depend on how well he can unlearn the teachings of his parents.
His jail experiences to date in Mexico and Texas have started this re-education, but it will probably take an actual prison term for the lesson to really sink in.
Afterward, there’s a good chance that he can put his youthful foolishness behind him and live as a law-abiding, responsible and taxpaying adult.
His redemption will be complete when he can honestly feel shame and remorse for the people he killed and injured, and not just regret being caught.
James G. Russell, Midlothian, Va.
Ethan could still turn his life around, even now.
Despite his mistakes and the tragedy he caused, he has an opportunity to impact youth through public speaking, talking about the consequences of poor choices from his personal experience.
He would have to fully own up to the errors of his past and commit to live life differently.
Rebecca Kathleen Lopez,
Highland Park, Ill.