US ‘affluenza’ teen faces Mexico deportation

A US teenager known for using an “affluenza” defence in a deadly Texas drunk-driving accident could soon be deported from Mexico after dropping an appeal, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Ethan Couch (18) has been held in a migration detention facility in Mexico City since he and his mother were caught in a Pacific resort town in late December. Couch had been sought by US authorities after he missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer.

His mother, Tonya Couch, was sent back to the United States on December 31 and was promptly arrested by US authorities to face charges of hindering his apprehension. Her son, however, had lodged an appeal that could have delayed his deportation for several months.

But Ethan Couch’s Mexican lawyer, Fernando Benitez, told AFP that the young man dropped his appeal on January 15 and a judge accepted the decision on Tuesday.

It is up to the National Migration Institute to decide when to fly Couch back to the United States, but he “should be sent back ASAP,” Benitez said in an email.

In 2013, the teen crashed his pickup into a group of pedestrians in Texas and another vehicle, leaving four dead and several seriously injured. Couch, who was 16 at the time, had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit for an adult.

The son of millionaire parents made headlines during his trial when a psychologist testifying on his behalf claimed he suffered from “affluenza”. The term, coined from affluence and influenza, implied that financial privilege made him unable to understand the consequences of his actions.

Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter. Prosecutors had sought a 20-year prison term, but the court handed him a surprise sentence of mental health treatment and a decade of probation. – BBC.

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