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Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch is a rich brat who should be sitting in a Texas prison for driving drunk and killing four pedestrians.

But he’s not. Today, Couch is free to walk the streets, perhaps drink alcohol if he feels like it – and maybe  even drive a car again one day.

Poor Ethan Couch suffers from  “affluenza,” according to one psychologist, a preposterous social condition that suggests wealthy young adults have a sense of entitlement and explain away bad behavior because their spoiled upbringing makes it impossible for them to distinguish right from wrong.

It’s a complete sham, most sane people agree, but one misguided judge decided that Couch does have “affluenza” and ruled that Couch will serve 10 years of probation instead of jail.

The “affluenza” court argument is not only one of the most ridiculous debates in judicial history, but it sets a dangerous precedent for the legal system moving forward.

How many more rich white young adults will get into serious trouble – possibly kill someone else – and blame their spoiled lifestyles on “affluenza” for their crimes?

When did it become socially acceptable – and legally permissible — to kill someone and not take responsibility for the crime because of a wealthy background?

The grieving relatives of the four people that Couch killed are understandably outraged and are suing Couch’s wealthy family.

Eric Boyles lost his wife Hollie, 52, and daughter Shelby, 21, in the crash. The Boyles family is seeking $1 million in damages from the brat, his father and the family’s business. Sergio Molina, 16, was thrown from the back of Ethan Couch’s truck and is now paralyzed and unable to speak. His family is seeking the highest compensation of the five — a $20 million payout.

“Let’s face it. … There needs to be some justice here,” Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter, told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ on Wednesday night.

“For 25 weeks, I’ve been going through a healing process. And so when the verdict came out, I mean, my immediate reaction is — I’m back to week 1. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window,” he said.

The term “affluenza” was created in the late 1990s by Jessie O’Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.”

COMMENTARY: Ridiculous Affluenza Defense Sets Dangerous Precedent  was originally published on

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