Oh So Special – Amanda Green
Everywhere you look these days, it seems like you will find someone who feels they are entitled to whatever they want simply because of who they happen to be. This isn’t anything new. There have always been people like that. Today, however, it seems like that attitude is becoming the norm and not the exception. Worse, this sense of entitlement extends not to just economic goals or even social standing, the main form a sense of entitlement used to take. Now we have the attitude of “you can’t do that because it makes me feel bad” or “you can’t do that because I don’t want you to.” We have children going through public school who don’t have to face the consequences of their decisions not to study. We have an entire generation that has been raised to think it is special, only to discover that the world isn’t one of equality or, gasp, one that believes that they are as special as they have been told for the last 18 years.
The prime example of this attitude is the farce of a defense that was somehow accepted by District Court Judge Jean Boyd (who thankfully did not run for re-election). Affluenza. Sounds pretty awful doesn’t it? Poor little Ethan Couch, convicted of killing four and injuring many more in a drunk driving crash, didn’t know what he was doing. Not because he had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the accident. No, poor little Ethan didn’t know better because he had been raised too rich and without any discipline. You see, his parents never put any consequences on him for his actions. So, according to the defense no one believed would be taken seriously by the court, he shouldn’t be held truly accountable for his actions in killing and injuring so many people that dark night almost three years ago.
I blogged about poor little Ethan – yes, the snark meter runs high when I say that – this past New Year’s Eve. Here is the timeline for what happened regarding Ethan.
- 19, 2013 – Couch is found in a pickup with a beer and a bottle of vodka. The result of this is a citation for minor in possession of alcohol.
- June 15, 2013 — Couch first steals alcohol from a local convenience store. Then the accident that killed four and injured nine occurs. His blood alcohol content measured at more than three times the legal limit.
- 10, 2013 — Couch is sentenced to 10 years probation, in-house treatment.
- 19, 2014 — Couch begins his in-house treatment at taxpayer expense.
- 14, 2014 — his father is arrested for impersonating a police officer. (Another indication that his parents have more than a few issues of their own?)
- 2, 2015 — the Youtube video goes viral.
- 11, 2015 — arrest warrant issued after authorities learn Couch failed to report as ordered to his probation officer and after finding the home he shared with his mother empty.
- 18, 2015 — U. S. Marshals join the search for Couch and his mother.
- 28, 2015 — Couch and his mother arrested in Puerto Vallarta.
A week later, his mother, Tonya Couch, was returned to the United States. Ethan, however, has been transferred to a holding facility in Mexico City where he is fighting his extradition. The legal authorities are almost unanimous that this is only delaying the inevitable and adding to the frustration of the authorities in Texas who have had more than enough of poor little Ethan and his refusal to take responsibility for his actions.
Yes, refuses. This is no longer the 16 year old who stood before the judge and was determined that he had had such a poor upbringing by his parents that he couldn’t be held truly responsible for his actions. This is an 18 year old man who knew that he faced a possible violation of his probation because of a Youtube video that surfaced and apparently showed him taking part at a party beer pong game. This is an 18 year old who made the decision to skip his upcoming meeting with his probation officer where, presumably, he would have been tested for alcohol and possibly drugs. This is an 18 year old who made the decision to leave not only the state but the country with his mother in an effort to avoid prosecution. This is an 18 year old who did so even though the most he could have received as a probation violation was 120 days, if I remember correctly, behind bars because the case is still resting in the juvenile courts.
Justice will come for Ethan Couch and probably much sooner than he would prefer. But he is only part of this story. His mother, Tonya, is the star and she is a prime example of the attitude I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Her attitude of “I can do whatever I want” is what led to the problems her son finds himself in and now she is continuing to play the same game. It is going to be interesting today to see what sort of arguments her attorney puts forth in an effort to get her $1 million bail reduced.
As I write this, Tonya Couch sits in a Tarrant County jail cell awaiting her bond reduction trial. On Friday, she made a brief appearance in court where no plea was made because her attorney had been held up in traffic. Sorry, but really? Anyway, true to form, Tonya apparently complained about not being able to get enough sleep in her cell because it was too bright, etc. Sheriff Dee Anderson’s response was indicative of what many people feel. He told her she was in jail, not at a vacation resort. That byplay, according to her attorney, was inappropriate. Riiight.
So today Tonya appears before a judge to argue that the bail is unreasonably high. She is charged with a third degree felony, basically with hindering the apprehension and prosecution of another. The standard bail for such a charge is $25,000 or less. So her attorney wants the bail reduced to $15,000. If granted, all Tonya would have to post is $1,500 and then she could walk out of the county jail.
Am I the only one who believes she would then walk down the street, never to be seen again – at least not until she was once more found and arrested?
But, Amanda, surely they took her passport away from her.
Nope. She claims that somehow in transit from Mexico to Los Angeles to Fort Worth it was lost.
But, Amanda, her attorney has assured everyone that Tonya would abide by any restriction the court would put on her.
Sorry, don’t buy it. This is the woman who knew her son had to regularly report to the probation office to meet the terms of his probation. This is the woman who sold the house she and her son were living in and then allegedly threw a going away party for the two of them. This is the woman who withdrew $30,000 prior to leaving the United States. This is the woman who called Ethan’s father and her now ex-husband to say he would never see her or Ethan again. This is the woman who paid an approximately $2,000 bar tab her son managed to run up a club in Mexico (said tab was for booze and lap dances and said bar is one favored by El Chapo. So it was probably a good thing for Ethan that she had all that cash on hand.)
So pardon me if I don’t have any faith in Tonya Couch living up to any provisions the court might place on her if she manages to bail out of jail, no matter what the bail amount.
But, Amanda, the court will have her wear a monitor so the probation office always knows where she is.
Again, riiiiight. The same sort of monitor that others before her have managed to get out of.
Perhaps it is finally time for someone to put their foot down and make sure Tonya, and through her Ethan, learn that there are consequences to their actions. This wasn’t some accidental crossing over the border where they were picked up by the Mexican police for having weapons in their possession. Although, there has been a report that a handgun was found in their hotel room after their arrest. If true, that could cause some problems for poor little Ethan since Mommy Dearest isn’t available for the Mexican authorities to make an example of.
Tonya Couch has shown a complete disregard of the law. Whether she agreed with it or not, running with her son was not the way to deal with the situation. She and her husband had managed to find themselves a convincing shyster once. Hence the affluenza defense no one thought would ever be taken seriously. Clearly, Judge Boyd was moved by the argument that being rich and raised without rules can make you unable to know that getting behind the wheel of a car could lead to bad things happening. Why else give Ethan only a 10 year probation when, in an earlier and remarkably similar case, she sentenced another 16 year old 20 years in prison? There is no doubt Tonya Couch knows how to manipulate the system and, when she steps into the courtroom today, she plans to do so once again.
I have a word of warning for her. Should she manage to get her bail reduced to an amount she can afford to post it, slipping away from the jurisdiction might not be as easy as she thinks. Even if she manages to get rid of the electronic monitoring device, I have a feeling members of the law enforcement agencies locally will be more than glad to sit on her, even if it is on their off time. What she and her son have done is spit in all their faces. Worse, not once has there been a showing of remorse on her part or, more importantly, on Ethan’s for what happened that dark night in 2013.
As for the judge hearing the case today, I don’t envy him. it has been some time since there has been such an emotionally charged case in Tarrant County. Following the law is a must but there will also have to be some common sense applied as well. That is the nice thing about bond hearings. The judge has a framework of recommended bonds to be guided by but he can also look at things like the financial health of the accused, the likelihood of the accused remaining in the jurisdiction, the danger the accused presents to the public-at-large and, if you want to be honest about it, the danger the accused faces if released.
I have no doubt that when the case is called later today, there will be people in the gallery looking on that Tonya should fall on her knees before and beg forgiveness from, not only for what she did but for what her son has done. She won’t. Remorse and responsibility don’t appear to be in her lexicon. Perhaps it is time someone made sure she learns the meaning of the words. Today can and should be the first step in doing so.