The Texas teenager whose lawyers invented the “affluenza” defense during his trial for a fatal drunken-driving crash was moved from a juvenile detention facility to an adult jail today.
The transfer does not automatically mean Ethan Couch’s probation-violation case will be transferred to the adult system.
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Couch’s case remains under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction, but Anderson admitted he feels more comfortable with Couch “in a more secure environment.”
Prosecutors had asked Judge Timothy Menikos to transfer Couch to an adult jail last week, but the judge decided not to move him. Judge Menikos changed his mind and then met with Couch’s attorneys yesterday, according to district attorney spokeswoman Samantha Jordan.
“He was very soft spoken, not at all defiant,” Sheriff Anderson said. “He made no requests, voiced no concerns about what was happening.”
Couch is “being detained in the adult jail as opposed to the juvenile facility while he awaits his hearing,” Jordan said, adding that Couch has a cell all to himself in the Tarrant County Lon Evans Correction Center.
A Feb. 19 hearing will decide if Couch’s case gets moved to the adult system.
As readers of The National ENQUIRER know, Couch was convicted of four counts of intoxication manslaughter stemming from the deadly June 15, 2013, wreck in Burleson, Texas.
But Couch avoided jail — and got 10 years’ probation — after his lawyers convinced a judge that Couch was the victim of such a privileged upbringing that he was unable to tell right from wrong.
Under the terms of his probation, Couch was not supposed to drink. But after video surfaced that showed Couch at a party where it appeared alcohol was served, he allegedly fled to Mexico with his mother, Tonya, to avoid being jailed under suspicion of violating his parole.