'Affluenza' Teen's Case Moved to Adult Court

Ethan Couch will likely get stricter probation conditions when he turns 19 in April
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2016 11:58 AM CST
'Affluenza' Teen's Case Moved to Adult Court
Ethan Couch is led by sheriff's deputies after a juvenile court hearing Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Two weeks ago, Ethan Couch was moved from a juvenile facility to an adult jail. Now the "affluenza" teen will move into the grown-up leagues in yet another way: A Texas judge decided Friday to transfer Couch's case from juvenile to adult court when he turns 19 on April 11, reports the Dallas Morning News. The transfer will take hold at midnight on his birthday, and a new judge assigned to him will rejigger the terms of his probation. Couch could be ordered to serve 120 days in jail and then complete his 10 year-probation, reports AP. If he violates the new conditions, he could receive up to 10 years in jail for each crash victim; four people died in the drunk-driving crash he caused in 2013.

Couch, who was sentenced to probation in 2014, would have simply run out his time in the juvenile system when he turned 19 if the judge hadn't moved the case, CBS Dallas notes. Couch will now serve out the time until his birthday in Tarrant County Jail, where he's currently being kept in isolation. This time the probation conditions will likely be more rigid, based on his jaunt to Mexico with his mom, and may include a GPS ankle bracelet and at-home alcohol testing. Not that everyone thinks Couch will adhere to the new conditions: A prosecutor last month said the "goal is to put him into the adult system and wait for him to do what I believe he will do, at which time we will seek to revoke him," per CBS. A Texas lawyer experienced in vehicular manslaughter cases adds, "If he messes up even one of these conditions, I doubt the judge will have much sympathy for him." (More Ethan Couch stories.)

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