Plenty of controversy and debate still surround the case of Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old from Tarrant County who was sentenced to a decade of probation in December for killing four people while driving under the influence of alcohol. Claiming that the teen suffers from affluenza and is thus unable to fully accept responsibility for his actions, Couch’s defense team successfully earned him a light sentence of therapy at a long-term, in-patient facility, rather than jail time. There is concern over the kind of legal precedent that Couch’s sentence is setting, but for those who were convicted of similar crimes before him, the reaction is anger.
Roy Adams, Jr. is currently serving a 12-and-a-half year sentence for killing a Grapevine Police officer while driving drunk. He was convicted in 2004 for intoxication manslaughter. Darren Medlin, the officer he killed, was standing next to a car he pulled over for speeding when Adams crashed into him. Laura Ann Jenkins, Adams’ mother, is now protesting the justice system in response to the Ethan Couch case. She vows to be picketing outside the front of the Tarrant County Courthouse every month until her son is released from prison.
According to the Tarrant County District Attorney, Adams received a fair trial. Additionally, there are, in fact, several major differences between the Couch and Adams cases–the ages of the defendants being the most notable. Ethan Couch is still a teenager, and Jenkins’ son was well into his twenties at the time of his own arrest. Cases involving minors are handled differently in Dallas. Furthermore, Couch was sentenced by a judge as a juvenile, while Adams was sentenced by a jury of his peers. Shocked by the teenager’s affluence-rooted defense, Jenkins responded by saying, “It’s not because Ethan grew up in a privileged home–it’s because somebody has influence.”
Jenkins stands by her claim that Adams was having a seizure when he crashed into and killed Officer Medlin. She denies that he was intoxicated, although the assistant district attorney says that this was already disputed during the trial. According to a blood test, Adams had a blood alcohol level of .11 and was over the legal limit when he was arrested.
Adams has served eight years of his sentence, and has been denied parole due to his refusal to admit to his offense. His mother plans to protest on the first Monday of every month in front of the Tarrant County Courthouse. Gina Medlin, the widow of Officer Medlin, furiously responded to Jenkins, saying that “she’s standing up in the wrong place.”
Any charge related to drunk driving, including DUI or DWI, is a serious and complicated matter. If you or anyone you know is facing charges for intoxicated driving in Dallas, whether it’s a first or repeat offense, be sure to contact an experienced and properly trained DWI attorney to assist you with your case. A call to The Wilder Firm can help you to present your defense. The attorneys at The Wilder Firm are consistently successful and willing to help you take action in your DWI case.
Curtis, Neeha. Mother of man convicted of DWI death protests sentencing following Ethan Couch case. MyFox DFW.
Stuart, Hunter. “Ethan Couch, ”˜Affluenza’ Teen, Facing 5 Lawsuits”. Huffington Post.