Judge Transfers Affluenza Teen’s Case to Adult Court

Ethan Couch is led to a juvenile court for a hearing Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas. Couch, who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck is set to appear over whether his case should be transferred to the adult system. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/LM Otero)
Ethan Couch is led to a juvenile court for a hearing Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas. Couch, who used an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck is set to appear over whether his case should be transferred to the adult system. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/LM Otero)

A judge transferred “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch’s case from juvenile to adult court Friday morning.

Couch, 18, has been held at Tarrant County’s maximum-security adult facility since a Feb. 5 hearing. Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Couch will remain in solitary confinement for his own safety. The ruling by District Judge Timothy A. Menikos calls for the case to be turned over to an adult court after Couch turns 19 on April 11. His probation will continue until February 2024.

It will be up to a state district judge in adult court to determine what the terms of his probation will be, such as an ankle monitor or curfew. A judge can decide if he will spend a minimum of 120 days in jail, but the maximum that he could get is 180 days in jail, Couch’s attorney Scott Brown said.

Brown did not contest moving the case to adult court. He said he felt that his client has been treated fairly up to this point.

Couch was sentenced to probation in an intoxication manslaughter case after he killed four people while driving drunk. The probation and his lawyer’s “affluenza” defense sparked national outrage, which intensified in early December after a video posted to Twitter claimed to show him at a party where alcohol was being served.

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SOURCE: Dallas News, Claire Z. Cardona