Teen Kills 4 People, Gets off Easy Because his Family is Too Rich

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by JeffFromMtl, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. Waelstrum

    Waelstrum All Fourths Advocate

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    The psychologist's statements in the news article read like they were meant to be sarcastic. They even called it "afluenza", which is clearly taking the piss, how did anybody take this seriously?*


    *I meant that rhetorically, obviously it was money.
     
  2. Cloudy

    Cloudy Pacific Wood Lab

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    Money does horrible things.

    I bet that Judge got a nice chunk of green.
     
  3. caskettheclown

    caskettheclown Sexytime!

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    Its safe to say that the system has failed.


    (Insert megadeth comment here)



    This might start a few lively exchange of ideas but I do believe that teenagers shouldn't be charged as a minor if they committed certain crimes. Sorry but at that age you know better than to injure people and murder people even if you believe it was an accident or on purpose. You should definitely know better than to drink and drive. I understand teens will drink/smoke no matter the laws but if they are ignorant enough to drink and drive then they should be charged the same as an adult.

    I also think the penalty/consequences for drunk driving should be MUCH MUCH higher and should continue to go higher depending on how drunk you are. I think someone who had half a beer should get less of a penalty than someone who had two cases or a pint or something. Though either way it shouldn't be a light penalty at all. I could be wrong in this way of thinking as I don't drink but oh well.
     
  4. sawtoothscream

    sawtoothscream SS.org Regular

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    If I get pulled over and get a huge ticket for half a beer I would explode. Over the legal limit then yes I except it and if you kill someone driving drunk you should be charged with murder.
     
  5. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    This rings true for me.


    Also, apparently this same judge gave 10 years in prison to a 14 year old black kid for a school yard fight gone wrong. He punched him once and died when he hit his head on the concrete. HUGE double standard by this judge that screams somethings up. Whether it's racism, class warfare or simple bribery it has got to be something.
     
  6. Watty

    Watty Naturally Cynical

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    ^ Amen, I'll bet the judge is going to be getting some interesting mail, phone calls, etc. for the foreseeable future. This situation seems like something that Anonymous would be involved in due to the principal at play....wonder if we'll see them before long exposing whether or not the judge took a bath for the sake of the family's money.

    I say we just add one year to his "legal life" for each person killed and charge him as an adult for the latter victims.
     
  7. Muzakman

    Muzakman SS.org Regular

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    With all the sh*t going on in the world it's no wonder people have psychological issues like social anxiety. Every other day there's a new story of murder, kidnap, unprovoked stabbings, robberies and swollen corpses making their way along the shore-lines. It makes you wonder if all people are fvcking wack'os. The worst part of it is sh*t like this.. The corruption.. When was the last time you got to hear something positive? Like.. "The war in Syria is over!" "Guns are illegal in the United States!" ;) bet you didn't approve of that one? :metal:
     
  8. Misfit

    Misfit Well-Known Member

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    Typical
     
  9. Danukenator

    Danukenator Kane's Bane

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    Can't say it much better. What do you want to bet they are against social security programs to help the less fortunate.
     
  10. The Reverend

    The Reverend GHETTO KING OF SWAG

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    One of my classes is in Ft. Worth. I first heard about this before taking a final. Everyone was pissed about it. It was actually sort of heartening to see people who'd rather be Instagram in class talking about how unfair this is.

    What gets me is that if there was an exchange of money going on, the kid's defense lawyer basically called his parents out on it! What kind of oxymoron is that!? His parents are rich, and so he doesn't know what he's doing due to never being disciplined, so don't discipline him now. What the f--k.
     
  11. zappatton2

    zappatton2 SS.org Regular

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    But... but... isn't attempting to limit the influence of extreme wealth all-out COMMUNISM?!?!

    All kidding aside, it is precisely that lack of nuance (and I hear it all the time these days) that is driving a system where wealth is calcifying in the hands of an incredibly shrinking ultra-class of untouchables. The ultra-rich are kicking off the ladders that got them to the top, all the while golden parachuting their way out of any responsibility to the common social good. And then insisting that any attempt to moderate extreme wealth and the influence it buys as an attack on freedom or an act of class envy.

    Well, it's exactly this sort of thing that limits social mobility (hence individual freedom to pursue a better life though quality public education and upwardly mobile employment), kills voter turnout (what's the point if every law, every politician, and every government action is bought and paid for), and basically leads to the overwhelming sense of apathy that comes with feeling nothing can be done about it.

    I'm not fire and brimstone when it comes to law-and-order issues, most of our jails are crammed with people who would be better suited in mental health or rehabilitative facilities, but this case is sickening, not just because of the scumbag involved, but because of the broader social message.
     
  12. Danukenator

    Danukenator Kane's Bane

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    Exactly! I don't want to sound like an alarmist nut. But the fact that this happens while hundreds, if not thousands, are being arrested by "stop and frisk" policies to jack up incarceration rates of non-violent drug offenders...where the hell is the justice in that.

    Shit, I understand the need to vote and follow politics. Civil responsibility, etc. It just gets harder and harder when it feels myself and everyone I know, doesn't have a single say in the matter.
     
  13. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    So, this states pretty clearly that money was a big factor in keeping the 16 year old out of prison, but as I've been reading through the comments here I formed the idea in my mind that the judge was somehow paid off. When I finally read the article itself, it looks like the judge chose the option that has the best chance of keeping this kid within the law's grasp for the longest amount of time. He was eligible for parole after two years, meaning he would never have made it to an adult prison. If he'd done two years out of twenty, I'm pretty sure the same people would be showing the same amount of outrage over what could be considered an equal level of injustice. Hell, if he'd done ten years out of twenty, a lot of people would have called that injustice. This is the difficulty in asking for punishment for heinous crimes - no amount of punishment seems 'equal' to a loss of life. It's even trickier when the criminal is under age and did not act maliciously.

    I read the article after reading everybody's comments and noticed that the 'affluenza' bit that justified the design of a headline that was guaranteed to get readers' blood boiling was just two lines tacked onto the end. One quote from one expert witness does not sufficiently sum up a case, but that's the main focus of dozens of reports, none of which seem remotely interested in detailing the sentence or the trial beyond saying "rich kid gets off, victims' families horrified". Now, before I'm hit with flames of wrath, I'm not defending the kid or his parents. By all accounts they seem like huge douche-nozzles. But without knowing the specific terms of the probation, I don't know how we can claim that the judge let him get away with murder. Is he allowed to drink once he turns 21? Is he allowed to get a licence ever? Is he allowed to scratch his arse without asking permission? We don't know, because the articles that are supposed to give us this information are way too caught up in presenting a story and headline that will get readers and therefore please advertisers. I tried googling the terms of his probation, and got the same fvcking headline and story over and over. In fact, the Wikipedia entry for the case doesn't show up til page six, and it has a handy link to a New York Times article that claims that probation is more common than incarceration in juvenile crimes in Texas, meaning precedent is a factor, and that 'affluenza' was never the heart of the case, regardless of what most media outlets are reporting. I just can't shake the feeling that a tragic story is being turned into clickbait by journalists who know how to use an 'us versus them' mentality to get readers on board.

    One last factor: CBS, ABC and CNN named the teen in their reports on this same case, and ABC plastered his face all over the news. If this goes the way some other cases involving juvenile criminals have gone, this family is going to have to leave town and assume new identities to escape a pretty huge amount of public persecution. Of course, they can't do that until after the victims' families are done suing them in civil court. And there's a not-oft reported fifth victim here: one of the driver's friends was thrown from the vehicle in the crash and suffered a severe brain injury, which is a basis of a lawsuit that targets the driver, the driver's parents, and the driver's father's company. Once you throw in the $450,000 a year they'll be paying for their son's rehab, you have to wonder how affluent they'll be by the time multiple lawsuits are done with them. Again, it doesn't make up for a loss of life, but nothing really does.
     
  14. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    No I think two years with the intention of 20 is exactly appropriate. I could care less if he is under the laws 'thumb'. He needs to serve time for what he did.

    With a more level head I do agree that it is about money in a different way. Going the route they did it is no longer the states problem. It places the financial burden on the parents instead (still related to class warfare honestly). The judge may have had the best of intentions, but she made the wrong choice. I personally could care less if affluenza was relevant or not. The therapist went on the stand, offered an alternative, one which the parents could pay, and the conservative BS judge took it despite him getting to stay in basically a ....ing resort for the next year.

    The therapist was not speaking from a professional standpoint, but as an advocate for his client and that is very obvious based not on his diagnosis of affluenza, but of him saying he needs a $450,000 rehabilitation facility in Cali. Yes, the judge makes the final call and yes there was no need for a defense since he plead guilty, but the judge takes all of this information into account when sentencing. The fact of the matter is no matter what the conditions are probation is too soft a sentence for killing 4 people and injuring 2 others. Never mind the other potential charges. If all he'd serve is 2 years so be it, at least he did some actual hard time for his crimes. As it is he did get away with it.

    I hope they go broke after all this for raising such a terrible creature into this world. They should have 'cared' more sooner.

    As an aside, this raises a major issue in our judicial system. If a kid commits a heinous act his sentence shouldn't be able to end just because he turns 18 if it is supposed to be much longer. In this case, under the current laws, they should have tried him as an adult to avoid such bullshit.

    Did what you read say probation is most common in juvenile court for murder and manslaughter too? Serious question because I'd like to think that wouldn't be the case.
     
  15. GuitaristOfHell

    GuitaristOfHell The Optimist Prime.

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    And people wonder why I openly detest my own country in many ways...
     
  16. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    The only stuff I found about probation at all was in the NY Times article I linked to:

    The sources of this information are not detailed, but I assume a paper as big as the NY Times has access to its fair share of criminal defense lawyers. The claim is limited to "serious drunken-driving and other crimes", so I don't think murder and manslaughter exist within the same setting for probation. This page talks about involuntary manslaughter, and gives a couple of examples. It seems that even adults might only receive a year or two for the same crime, but as the page highlights: "While states often take their cues from the federal courts when drafting their own sentencing guidelines, states vary widely on this issue". It also points out that heavy sentences can be mitigated by criminals accepting responsibility (in this case, pleading guilty), and a lack of criminal history (while this kid's history seems murky, he's never been charged with anything, so you can't use that in court).

    The NY Times article also links to a lot of stuff I've seen on adolescent psychology in the last few years through my ongoing attempts at getting an education degree, and the following part of the same article rings very true:

    I think you could make a pretty strong case that unlike an adult, who has likely developed to the point that their personality is essentially established, the chances for true rehabilitation are very strong for most adolescents. The article implies that this might have been a larger factor than the family's wealth, but that "whether the judge had in any way been influenced by the psychologist’s testimony, remained unclear". So we don't know on what basis the judge came to their conclusion, or what the terms of the parole are. Because it's a rather recent story, more details will probably emerge, and the sentence might make more sense with additional context. But as it stands, most of the articles connected with this case are dripping with sensationalism. The arsehole deserves the condemnation he's receiving, but whether or not he deserves a heftier sentence can't be up to the public. That's how lynch mobs and witch hunts gain momentum, and those sorts of things have a pretty bad record for disproportionate responses to petty crimes. Even today the public has a tendency to demand the heaviest possible sentence for violent or nasty crimes, as we saw recently from our own community in another thread where people were calling for the public execution of a couple for writing a book. It's an understandable reaction, but it's not justice in any true sense of the word. So as much as I want to see this jerk from Fort Worth punished, I don't see how a 20 year sentence and the removal of a chance at rehabilitation is 'fairer' than the existing sentence.

    Having said all that, I agree wholeheartedly with you that judges shouldn't be voted in, as I think ideology (the basis of all politics) has no place in a court, which is supposed to be objective. If this case is the beginning of judicial reform that leads to a genuinely better system, then at least something positive might come out of this case.
     
  17. død

    død SS.org Regular

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    Abortion in the 64th trimester is the only solution.
     
  18. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    By the whole notion of having him under probation for 10 years because he would get out in 2 years otherwise, a gap in the justice system is shown. If it was a poor white kid he would take the 20 years and maybe parole in 2. If it was a poor black or Latino kid he would take the 20 years and most probably no parole for 6 to 10 years. I get what you're saying estabon37 but it still shows the flows of sentencing when money and power is involved, it's class based pure and simple.

    My notion in this is since it's Texas he is bound to 'trespass' somewhere and that's coming from someone who's against guns.
     
  19. skeels

    skeels ..to pay the beels

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    I think this is a good entry for the "What the Hell is wrong with America? " thread...
     
  20. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    Well for an adult who commits vehicular manslaughter the minimum is 2 years and I imagine that is per individual so in this case it technically should be 8 years minimum.

    Also, he clearly falls into this category and deserves to be punished as such.

    They further distinguish between intoxicated manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter of which he is guilty of both.

    He plead guilty to 4 Counts of intoxicated manslaughter and 2 counts of intoxicated assault. I'm sorry, but even a judge with half a brain should be able to see that this warrants more than probation. Probation is usually pretty standard too. There aren't usually special circumstances tacked on or anything. He'll get drug tested every so often and have to do community service for 4 ....ing counts of manslaughter. He'll also have to not get arrested obviously for the next 10 years, but that is honestly irrelevant as if he were to be arrested then charges would be brought up for that incident anyhow. I've never understood the mindset of being 'under the thumb of the law'. It's bullshit and I know it is because I know people who ended up on probation and/or under the scrutiny of one or more government organizations. They don't do much. Alcohol is also out of your system completely within like 3 days so he can still drink. As a first time offender typically as long as he's 21 he'll be able to drink anyhow as long as he doesn't do so while driving obviously. There may be a stipulation saying he can't, but it is unlikely. He is a first time offender and at the time of his paperwork being written up he isn't of legal age to drink in the first place. It is unlikely that they will change his paperwork when he turns 21.

    It is hard to deny that even if there were no bribes happening here it is blatantly apparent that the person who can afford the best lawyers, expert witnesses and to pay for treatments and whatnot tend to get away more often with crime than their poor counterpart. It's a crap shoot for a poor person when getting legal aid from the state. Couple that with jurors who don't want to even be in the box and judges who are voted in either by party line or no contest and I'm severely disheartened by the way our legal system works. It's bullshit.

    Top that with the fact that offering evidence, pleading guilty, or anything else that makes the state/prosecution have to do less work results in easier sentencing and it's just disgusting. That to me is the equivalent to a bribe.

    http://www.madd.org/laws/law-overview/Vehicular_Homicide_Overview.pdf



    That'd be 1-2 years minimum for one count of manslaughter. If they brought up each charge it would be 4 counts as I understand it. Clearly the judge and prosecution are given tons of leeway though.

    While true I don't think the implication should be that children and teens can essentially get away with murder. If it was just a DUI or DWI or an assault charge then I'd agree with a less is more approach. For murder it isn't just about rehabilitation, but justice. If a teen gets in a fight and accidentally kills someone in the process most judges are going to throw that kid in jail (this one did) and that kid is honestly more likely to be rehabilitated if given the chance than someone like this rich prick. If a teen drinks and 'accidentally' kills someone it's 'not their fault' which is bullshit. It's about as not their fault for driving drunk and killing someone as going in a crowd and firing a weapon with the intention of not hitting anyone. Your intention may not have been to hurt someone, but that is exactly what could and did happen in this case.

    If you can't hold children accountable for their actions then their rights need to be significantly reduced to match what they can 'responsibly' handle. :2c:

    Nobody is starting a lynch mob, but lets not pretend our judicial system is infallible either. Reform comes from acknowledging when the system fails. His crime is far from petty as well.


    The psychologists claim is that he can only get help outside the system. There is actually a system of rehabilitation for juvenile offenders already in place. The opportunity would still be there. You're implying that as long as someone is under 18 then there is a minimum amount of time justifiable for their actions. He killed in complete recklessness 4 people and shows no visible remorse for his actions. In just 2 years he'd automatically face charges comparable to an adult, 1 year in some case. He isn't going to grow that much mentally within one year. We, as a society, draw arbitrary lines regarding age and growth. I grew the most from 19-21 years of age.

    :agreed:
     

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