The mother of a fugitive 18-year-old known for using an “affluenza” defense in a drunken-driving case was expected to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom for an extradition hearing on Tuesday.
Arrested on charges of helping her son flee from Texas to Mexico after he violated probation, Ethan Couch’s mother, Tonya, will have her day in court.
Tonya Couch, who was wanted on a charge of hindering apprehension, was flown to Los Angeles from Mexico last week and has been held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. She’s charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon and will be held on a $1 million bond. He pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation.
Ethan and Tonya Couch went on the run around December 16 and ducked out on a probation hearing called after a tape surfaced with Ethan Couch playing beer pong in violation of his probationary terms to not drink or use drugs.
Tonya Couch was forced to pay the remainder of Ethan’s two tabs for strippers and booze.
Tonya Couch, the mother of “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch, arrived Thursday morning at Los Angeles International Airport after she was deported from Mexico to to the United States. This weekend, Benitez said he hoped to get Ethan a hearing by early February but also said that the deportation process could take longer. That means she would be returned to Tarrant County as soon as possible.
The teen was being sought after missing a mandated probation check-in with Texas authorities last month.
“You understand you are giving up your right to resist extradition to the State of Texas” the Judge asked Couch.
In 2013, Ethan was convicted of four counts of intoxication manslaughter while driving drunk, but was not sentenced to any jail time after an expert witness for the defense team pointed to “affluenza”, a condition he said was caused by Ethan’s wealthy upbringing, preventing him from knowing right from wrong. The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation during the legal proceedings drew ridicule.