In the wake of a controversial ruling that let a wealthy drunk-driving Texas teenager walk free after killing four, a California lawmaker is making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, introduced a bill in the state Legislature on Tuesday that would prohibit an “affluenza” defense at trial or during post-trial sentencing for the accused and wealthy.
Last year, Ethan Couch was spared jail time (and received probation) after slamming into a parked car south of Fort Worth, TX. Because of his parents’ affluence and money, a psychologist testified that Couch was the product of affluenza — an argument that supported the theory that Couch’s well-to-do parents should share the blame for the crash because they never set limits and gave him everything he wanted.
But Gatto’s legislation, titled AB 1508, “would forbid a judge or jury from reducing the sentence of a defendant who claims that being raised in a wealthy or excessively lenient household somehow explains or absolves that defendant’s guilt.” The bill also states that “circumstances in mitigation of the punishment prescribed by law shall not include the fact that the defendant may not have understood the consequences of his or her actions because he or she was raised in an affluent or overly permissive household.”
“Perhaps the notion of personal responsibility seems antiquated to some,” Gatto said in a news release this week. “But I think the majority of us believe that people should own up to their actions, and that criminals should not be able to use their wealth or privilege to lessen the severity of their sentences. Spoiled children shouldn’t be able to spoil the chances of victims to obtain justice when a criminal act has occurred.”
PREACH! The rich can’t hide any longer.
SOURCE: CNN | PHOTO CREDIT: Screengrab