A Texas county judge — who spared a wealthy, white teen jail time for killing four people while drunk driving — sent a younger, black boy to juvenile detention last year for killing just one man.
In March 2012, Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a 14-year-old black boy to juvenile detention for killing someone with one, powerful punch, the Tarrant County News in Dallas reported. Prosecuted as a juvenile, the boy’s name has not been revealed publicly.
Just last week, however, Boyd sentenced 16-year-old Ethan Couch to probation and rehabilitation after killing four pedestrians while driving drunk.
The boy’s psychologist, who testified in court, diagnosed the 16-year-old with “affluenza,” a faux-disorder implying his wealth impeded a sense of personal responsibility. Boyd’s decision sparked outrage that family money might have prompted the boy’s freedom.
In the older case, the black offender jumped out of his car one night in October 2011 and punched Mark Gregory, standing at 5′ 1” and weighed 106 pounds. Gregory’s head struck the pavement, and he died two days later, according to a statement from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.
Anita Lauterbach, the victim’s mother, remembers Boyd pushing for rehabilitation. Much to her relief, no facility would take the offender.
“She’s too easy on them. I don’t think she needs to be sitting not that bench,” Lauterbach told the Tarrant County News.
A treatment program likely didn’t accept the boy responsible because of the violent nature of his crime, Jamison Monroe, founder and CEO of Newport Academy — the facility where Couch will undergo his treatment — told the Tarrant County News.
The 14-year-old received a 10-year sentence, according to the statement from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. But, like many inmates, he probably won’t serve that entire sentence.
The boy could remain in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department — “which is basically prison for juveniles” — until he’s 19, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. If he “hasn’t worked in the program” before he turns 19, he could be transferred to an adult prison, where he’ll serve the remainder of his sentence, the DA said. He could also be paroled into the community before he turns 19.
The 14-year-old’s crime is agurably more violent than 16-year-old Ethan Couch’s drunk driving. Couch, however, behaved incredibly recklessly. He and his friends reportedly stole two cases of beer from a store, and his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he killed the pedestrians.
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