Pros And Cons Of Affluenza

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In June of 2013, Ethan Couch, a wealthy teenager from Fort Worth, Texas killed four people while he was drunk driving. Couch, who was sixteen at the time of the incidence, pled guilty to four counts of intoxicated manslaughter but was not sentenced to any jail time.

Why? Truthfully, it is because of white privilege as well as judicial inequality. In this case, it is not just white privilege but rich white privilege. During his trial, a defense attorney argued that Couch had affluenza, a physiological condition that only affects the affluent, a result of being shielded from punishments and discipline from his parents. The judge agreed and sentenced Couch to rehabilitation and 10 years of probation. Although the term “Affluenza” was new, these
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These youth live in poverty, have endured homelessness and hunger, witnessed death and murder, and survived sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. It could be argued that because the youth do not know any other way of life that they should not be held accountable for their actions. However, when poor often black youths commit a crime, they do not have the financial resources available to afford the best attorneys or expert witnesses. As a result, these youths are more often found guilty and given harsher sentences relative to the crimes that they commit. The inability to afford proper legal representation has allowed many black youths to serve time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

Another example of judicial inequality in parity between legal treatments of citizens is the Crack Cocaine Mandatory Minimum Sentences. Before 2010, there were much stricter mandatory minimum sentences when someone was convicted of a crime involving crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. Crack cocaine is much cheaper to produce and buy than powder cocaine, and thus crack cocaine offenders were more likely to be poor and black, while powder cocaine offenders were more often more affluent and white. Thus a disproportionate number of blacks were imprisoned
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It shows that justice is not completely blind and that inequalities in the judicial system is still very prevalent. The wealthy have more access to proper legal representation, which gives the impression that they have more rights than citizens who live in poverty. Despite the idea that all humans are equal and have the same rights, the legal system does not exercise fairness and justice for all
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