Psychologist Regrets Using 'Affluenza' in Court

But controversial concept got DUI teen out of jail
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 11:59 AM CST
Psychologist Regrets Using 'Affluenza' in Court
A screen grab of psychologist G. Dick Miller from Anderson Cooper's CNN show.   (CNN)

Chances are you've heard about the "affluenza" defense that enabled a Texas teenager who killed four people while driving drunk to escape jail time this week. Well, the psychologist who used it in court wishes that weren't so. “I wish I had never used the term,” psychologist G. Dick Miller told Anderson Cooper on CNN last night. "Everyone has latched on to it.” Miller helped get Ethan Couch probation instead of jail by arguing that he was a privileged rich kid whose parents never taught him right from wrong.

Miller went on to explain that he has personally used the term for years to describe what he sees as a national problem. “We all suffer from affluenza,” he said. "We have a nation doing that.” The fact that there seems to be "no real science or school of psychological thought" behind the concept will probably trigger more anger, writes John Luciew at the Patriot-News. All in all, it was a "frustrating" interview, adds Josh Voorhees at Slate. He'd much rather hear from the judge who bought the argument and issued the sentence. But so far, Judge Jean Boyd hasn't spoken publicly about it. (More affluenza stories.)

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