Is "Affluenza" Real? - Domestic | Financial Buzz

Is “Affluenza” an Excuse?

Drink, DUI, Drunk, Jean BoydMost have heard of Ethan Couch, the Texas teen who killed four people and injured another two while driving under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol, and how his “Affluenza” was the cause for his brash behavior. After his hearing, Ethan left with no jail time, but mandatory rehabilitation and ten years’ probation.

Judge Jean Boyd claimed that the Affluenza defense had no bearing in her ruling, but she determined it was an appropriate disposition based on the fact that he could be rehabilitated. Eric Boyle, whose wife and daughter were killed by Couch had this to say, ”Had he (Couch) not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different,”

It now seems as though Judge Boyd has set a precedent for such unlawful behavior amongst the rich and affluent. Joseph Shaun Goodman of Olympia Washington was arrested on December 29, 2013 for DUI. This was not his first, but his seventh DUI, and that’s not the end of Goodman’s ridiculous behavior.

Goodman was out on town, where he met Henry Griffin, a 28 year old fellow Olympian, at a local pub. When Goodman asked if Griffin would like a ride in his Ferrari, Griffin of course jumped right in. This is where the night began its steep downturn. Goodman, speeding at 90 mph in his 2000 Ferrari (valued at $70,000), drew the attention of local police. The authorities began pursuit and attempted to pull Goodman over, who refused. All the while, Griffin,was pleading to be let out of the car. Griffin was eventually let out when he grabbed the wheel of the car, but Goodman was far from done. He later crashed into two cars and a house. Police finally made the arrest in the parking lot of a church, drawing the weapons on the watery eyed, alcohol reeking Goodman.

Any normal American citizen would expect Goodman’s actions to be met with a harsh jail time for endangering so many lives with his antics and a .16% BAC. But it seems like being rich has trumped the legal system again. Instead of seeing any real jail time, Goodman received 364 days of work release from jail. Claiming that jailing him would be detrimental to his small business, employees and the community.

Keep in mind that the penalty for a first offense DUI carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and one year in jail, so Goodman is skating with less than a possible first time offender. Also take into account that he kidnapped Griffin for a short time, refusing to let him out of the vehicle, and he damaged two cars and a house. This of course after a high speed police chase. Typically, while a case is being adjudicated, the defendant is not allowed to leave the state, but Goodman was allowed to attend the Super Bowl in New York City.

Goodman’s unlucky passenger says he is traumatized by the fiasco, visiting a psychologist weekly and a chiropractor three times a week. Griffin also says he can hardly sleep, and when he does, all he can dream of is that traumatic ride. Goodman has yet to apologize to Griffin, who feels abandoned by the judiciary system.