That, ahem, symbol of ethical integrity Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has joined the public outcry against the criminal sentence given to Ethan Couch, the teenager who drove a pickup while intoxicated and caused an accident that killed four pedestrians and severely injured two of his passengers. Couch got off with a 10-year probated sentence and became the nation’s whipping boy.
Dehurst lost his father to a drunken driver as a toddler, and so the issue is personal to him. It was also personal when he called Allen police earlier this year and tried to curry favor for a jailed relative (see above link).
Dewhurst wants a state Senate panel to look into whether intoxication manslaughter sentencing is tough enough. Surely the politically savvy Dewhurst never considered that linking his name to the collective consternation over Couch would give him internet cred.
At least Dewhurst is questioning the system rather than attacking the kid (unlike many vengeance-minded Americans). Couch’s attorneys used the so-called “affluenza” defense, meaning the defendant’s wealthy upbringing and pampering meant he wasn’t completely responsible for his poor judgement.
Couch faced 20 years in prison, but District Judge Jean Boyd ordered him to rehab and sentenced him to what most people deemed a slap on the wrist.
Maybe it was.
Still, Couch was involved in an accident, not a premeditated act of violence. It’s unsettling to see and hear so many people across the country calling for a 16-year-old boy to be hung by his toenails over a fire pit.