Daniel Hynes

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Media deemed poor little rich boy given probation for DUI manslaughter

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A 16-year-old driver has been sentenced to 10 years of probation by a Texas juvenile court judge after pleading guilty last week to drunken driving and intoxication manslaughter concerning a June chain-reaction accident he caused that killed four people.

The youth, who is not identified because he is a juvenile, also pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxication assault, concerning two passengers riding in the bed of his pickup who were critically injured (one is paralyzed and communicates by blinking). The defendant will be held in detention in Tarrant County while a potential treatment program is arranged for him, the Star-Telegram reports. His blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit for an adult.

In a controversial Tuesday ruling, State District Judge Jean Boyd rejected a call by state prosecutors for a 20-year prison term and said it would be better for the teen to receive expensive residential treatment in California that his wealthy parents have agreed to pay for. The program, which can cost $450,000 annually, is intended to address what a psychologist described as a family situation in which the teen had money and material possessions but little parental guidance, stunting his emotional growth, the newspaper recounts.

A Dallas Morning News Opinion Blog post derided the judge's "poor little rich boy" stance and questioned, as other critics have also done, why the standard of justice seemingly may be different for those with money.

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Guest Monday, 27 May 2024