February 6th, 2014
05:11 AM ET

Lawyer for "Affluenza" Teen Speaks Out

Reagan Wynn, attorney for "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch, spoke with CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Thursday. 

On Wednesday, a judge ordered that Couch - who drove drunk and caused a crash, killing four people and injuring two - go to a lock-down residential treatment facility.

State District Judge Jean Boyd had already decided the Texas teenager would serve no jail time. He was sentenced last year to 10 years' probation.

His story made national headlines after a witness claimed Couch was a victim of "affluenza" - the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy.

That particular defense, however, played no part in the judge's decision, Couch's lawyer told Cuomo. 

"That term was not used by either of the lawyers that represented Mr. Couch and it was not our defense. Our defense... was that this 16-year-old child was the product of a profoundly dysfunctional family."

When Cuomo asked Wynn why his client hasn't given a statement to apologize to the victims' families, the lawyer says it is because Couch is effectively like a 12 year old.

"He's able to express remorse but quite frankly, I don't think there's anything he was going to say to anyone that was going to make them feel any better. Especially not coming from him." 

For more, visit CNN.com 

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soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. cheekbrown

    Attorney Reagen Wynn is talking out both sides of his mouth. He has never represented someone who did not have money who got straight probation after killing someone, let alone four people. Good job, Chris Cuomo.

    February 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  2. WhyIsThisAllowed

    Petition to remove the judge: https://www.change.org/petitions/governor-rick-perry-take-judge-jean-boyd-off-the-bench

    February 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  3. Skeptacular

    If the Couch family is rich, it seems incumbent on the authorities to maintain a vigil on the financial accounts of both the Couch family and those of Judge Jean Boyd.

    February 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  4. Billy Bob

    And the sociopath rich wonder why they are hated??? There will come a time....
    I am very glad I am too old to be around when it does. Way to go "merricuh and tekzus"!

    February 6, 2014 at 10:56 am | Reply
  5. Becca Helen

    So this is how a REPUBLICAN JUDGE rolls? Funny, when it's the uber-rich such a "liberal" stance, eh, Jean Boyd?

    February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am | Reply
  6. Outraged

    I agree the parents should be sued. They are responsible to the community for the rearing of their children.
    The young man with the drivers license knew better, when accepting a license in the state of Texas, DUI is covered in even the simplest of terms. Prison is a must for those who commit manslaughter DUI.
    The Judge – well I hope the election system takes care of her ignorance of the Justice system that we have.
    The District Attorney failed us also by not appealing the sentencing.

    February 6, 2014 at 9:32 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Should the parents only be held financially liable (sued) or should they be criminally charged for the homicides?

      Thank you for continuing this important conversation.

      CNN VCM

      February 6, 2014 at 9:52 am | Reply
  7. flecka

    The judge may have called 'affluenza' right in this case. However, the judge is further enabling Ethan Couch with his probation decision. It sure seems the judge has made light of the FOUR DEATHS and TWO INJURED people. So not impressed with Ethan Couch, his parents, but especially the judge.

    February 6, 2014 at 9:08 am | Reply
  8. Just Me

    In addition to BB's comments above, I'm pretty sure there are plenty of cases where dog owners are held responsible if their pets attack or even kill somebody. I'm not sure if this is the same kind of thing, animals vs. humans I mean, but should it be?

    February 6, 2014 at 9:04 am | Reply
  9. Edwin

    The wealthy are above the law. That's what this case has taught me. I hope his victims sue his parents into bankruptcy in civil court.

    February 6, 2014 at 9:02 am | Reply
  10. Gator

    He'll be killed by a drunk driver.

    February 6, 2014 at 9:00 am | Reply
  11. Quill

    If this kid didn't have a proper upbringing, whats a better reality check and life lesson, than to his butt to jail!?

    February 6, 2014 at 8:56 am | Reply
  12. Nate

    This kid needs to be hung in the town square. And his parents and the judge should be hanging right next to him.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • Ariel

      Would there be an issue if the kid wasn't white? He is spoiled and entitled. That is that generation. Their parents are to blame. This kid will end up dead down the road. His parents failed him. I work with young kids and parents instill this attitude of entitlement. I interviewed several college grads last year and all of them wanted this and wanted that...no one wants to start at the bottom and work their way up.

      February 6, 2014 at 8:52 am | Reply
  13. TeamCNNCNN

    Did you see the interview just conducted by Chris Cuomo with the attorney of the affluence teen? Tell us what you thought of it.

    If you missed it, check back with us later today for the posting of the interview.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:38 am | Reply
  14. truth is a blinding light

    Was the judge paid off? Only thing that makes any sense.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
  15. Wow

    Wow this is disgusting, un real.....

    February 6, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
  16. Howard

    Judge got paid off

    February 6, 2014 at 8:29 am | Reply
  17. Doc

    Totally disgusting that this killer – he's plenty old enough to know he shouldn't have been drinking & driving – will essentially suffer nothing for killing four people & injuring two more. But also not surprising, which is why its even more disgusting. The judge should also be up on charges for having no spine.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:27 am | Reply
    • Mahdee

      Maybe the judge has a huge new bank deposit from the boys parents. Wouldn't be the first time in history someone was paid off.

      February 6, 2014 at 8:34 am | Reply
  18. RCB

    There was no justice in this case; not for this guilty young man, not for the 4 killed, the two seriously hurt or the family members. Awful example of the US justice system.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:26 am | Reply

    Yes the parents are the source of the problem, which the judge could have corrected by sending this spoiled little jerk to an adult prison but the judge then became a greater problem. In fact the greatest problem here in Texas is not the laws; it is the courts and specifically the judges.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:23 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      We're discussing now. Hope you're watching!

      CNN VCM

      February 6, 2014 at 8:27 am | Reply
  20. Marcin

    I totally appreciate David's comment. if this minor was found not guilty due to "affluenza", then where is the "nofluenza" defense? Both arguments have merrit, and hold no water (in my book). Affluenza: so rich and spoiled that there is no sense of moral responsibility for one's actions. Even if the argument is one that revolves around Mens Rea, i can create an argument where i say, "they are so rich i didn't realize that stealing from them would cause them any harm" bingo, i didnt intend to do harm, i didnt believe that stealing from the rich is wrong or harmful. Nofluenza defense.
    I'm not sure how that would apply to acts of violence or vehicular manslaughter, but if we take the class and weath stereotypes out of it, why can't we argue simply "i am too stupid to know that what i was doing is wrong?" sounds like a great defense for anyone, rich or poor.
    Also, last i checked, DUI manslaughter cases across the board have defeated the 'too drunk to know i was doing wrong' aspect of manslaughter by reasoning 'you intended to drink, therefore you intended to drive drunk', how does affluenza remove this simple test? urgh. so annoying.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:14 am | Reply
  21. Riada Kram

    He killed FOUR people. He should be executed not sent to rehab. There is absolutely no justice in our "justice system".

    February 6, 2014 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • adam

      We don't have a justice system, we have a Legal system.

      February 6, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
      • TeamCNNCNN

        Did you see the interview just conducted by Chris Cuomo with the attorney of the affluence teen? Tell us what you thought of it.

        If you missed it, check back with us later today for the posting of the interview.

        CNN VCM

        February 6, 2014 at 8:36 am |
  22. Dexter

    anyone know the name of the facility dear Ethan will be at?

    February 6, 2014 at 8:09 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN


      Different sites have suggested various "luxury" rehabilitation facilities, but CNN has not confirmed this information.

      Thanks for watching and commenting today!

      CNN VCM

      February 6, 2014 at 8:16 am | Reply
  23. BBB

    Parents should be doing hard time. This was a missed learning opportunity for the legal system.

    February 6, 2014 at 8:08 am | Reply
  24. AJ

    Too rich to Jail
    The new normal

    February 6, 2014 at 8:07 am | Reply
  25. brian

    this kid needs to be hooked up to the electric chair while his parents watch. does anybody honestly think thsi kids gonna go on to be a positive figure in any society. i bet he kills again in his lifetime, he got away with it once, he'll get off on it the next time. they've done nothing but teach this dirtbag that he's above the law. Our "justice " system is so screwed up and the USA is a terrible joke.

    February 6, 2014 at 7:58 am | Reply
  26. Mo

    Yet, law enforcement spent 37 years tracking down a woman that escaped from a michigan prison for the horrendous crime of....wait for it, wait for it, larceny. Yeah, that's right, stealing an article of clothing got her almost 2 years in prison, and she escaped after serving about half her sentence. Law enforcement "tracked" her down 37 years later in San Diego. Yup, I'd say our justice system is pretty messed up....there's one for you and me, then there's the other one for the affluent and famous. Think about the thousands upon thousands sitting in jails and prisons right now doing time for non violent drug crimes and other petty crimes like this woman, yet this little punk kills 4 and because he's rich (yeah, that's right, that's hs actual defense) he serves not a one day behind bars.

    February 6, 2014 at 7:32 am | Reply
  27. David

    If this teen was let off easy because his upbringing didn't instill in him any sense of social responsibility or self control or any need to be held accountable for his actions, how is this any different from so many minority youths who also grow up in a culture lacking all the same - just without the wealth and privilege?

    February 6, 2014 at 7:20 am | Reply
    • monica

      I was right there with you until "minority" youth...you can apply that to the MAJORITY of youth, of ACROSS RACES! Or are you oblivious to the number of white and Asian youth doing the majority of these school/mall shootings? The bottom line is that MANY youth are not being properly taught or supervised at home and our country tolerates TOO MUCH crap from adults and kids!!!

      This boy needs to be charged as a MINORITY youth (or a prized athlete/entertainer) would be, with the harshest punishment available; he should have been tried as an adult, in front of a jury, where there would have been a better chance of him being found guilty, which he is. That said, we should be investigating the judge, as there has to be some pocket-lining going on with this case!

      February 6, 2014 at 7:52 am | Reply
      • monica

        I was intending to state that he's being afforded the same privileges a prized athlete or entertainer experiences, when they commit crimes and get slapped on the wrist!

        February 6, 2014 at 7:54 am |
      • TeamCNNCNN

        Good point, Monica. If "affluenza" is the defense given, does this allow all financially privileged people to escape justice for their crimes?

        Loving the discussions here. These are important topics to consider, not just for society, but for parenting.

        Keep 'em coming!

        CNN VCM

        February 6, 2014 at 8:09 am |
  28. BB

    If the judge ruled he's not responsible because of the way he was raised, why aren't his parents sentenced to jail?

    February 6, 2014 at 6:59 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Very interesting comment, BB. Do you think parents should be held accountable for the children's actions?

      Share your opinions with us!
      CNN VCM

      February 6, 2014 at 7:04 am | Reply
      • BB

        You bet I do.

        February 6, 2014 at 7:20 am |
      • TeamCNNCNN


        Does this set a dangerous precedent for other cases where juveniles are responsible for crimes, but the parents must "serve the time"?

        CNN VCM

        February 6, 2014 at 7:37 am |
      • BB

        In almost every state parents are legally liable for the actions of their minor children. I think it is highlighted in this case because the judge ruled that the deaths were caused because he was a product of his environment. People need to be held accountable. If the judge says the kid shouldn't be held accountable because his parents didn't teach him not to break the laws, his parents should be held accountable for their mistakes. What message has this judge sent? That it's okay to kill and maim if you can blame it on something else?

        February 6, 2014 at 7:27 am |
      • 05Hummer

        You hit it right on the head. If parents are held "liable" if they children don't show up for school, why aren't they held accountable for situations like this. Double standard in my eyes. Hold the parents to the fire along with kids and you will see these types of "crimes" drop drastically..

        February 6, 2014 at 9:34 am |
    • Val

      The judge in this case was dealing only with the one defendant, and ruled as if there were no other accused. However, judges in the states have the ability to order the arrest of people and have them charged, so I was wondering why he didn't do that? Seriously: the parents provided the vehicle, did not provide sufficient supervision over their minor child, allowed him to drink to the point of getting drunk, and allowed him to drive the vehicle while drunk, due to that lack of supervision. Absolutely the parents should be charged!! Parents need to understand that they have a job to do: to raise a human being fit for surviving in the world on their own, and this includes taking responsibility for their actions. If they can not do their job properly, then they should be fired (have the children taken away), or if they refuse to do their job properly, then they are the ones that need to take responsibility for what their children do. If parents realize that they would be responsible for what their children do up to the age of majority, then they would make sure that their children did the right things. The parents in this case should be charged with manslaughter. They provided the means by which 4 people died. I would say that the victims in this case, have grounds for suing for wrongful death as well... not that I'm a lawyer or anything, but we saw it happen with O.J...

      February 6, 2014 at 8:51 am | Reply
  29. Suzy Hager

    I did some research. His parents live in a multi-million dollar home in a gated lakeside community. His father owns a huge Texas plant that manufactures roofing material. They are rich. Is our society such as this now? He can drive drunk and kill four and injure two and just go to a $450,000 rehab by the beach in CA? I really think it's time our criminal justice system is reworked.

    February 6, 2014 at 6:31 am | Reply
  30. asdf

    punk should do time in some juvie for a year, then transferred to reg. priz.

    February 6, 2014 at 6:12 am | Reply
  31. Leslie

    Why give this kid any air time at all? It's like flaunting the fact that he's getting away with murder. I'm sorry, but a lock down rehab is not where he needs to be. He needs to be in a state-run, adult correctional facility, in a small cell, with a roommate named "Bruiser."

    February 6, 2014 at 6:01 am | Reply

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