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Subject: Affluenza rss

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Ben Vincent
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Just heard about this story on the radio:

Quote:
A defense psychologist called it “affluenza,” a syndrome that keeps someone from a wealthy background from learning that bad behavior has consequences. That explanation helped a North Texas teenager get a sentence of probation after he drove while drunk and killed four pedestrians.

The 16-year-old was sentenced Tuesday in a Fort Worth juvenile court to 10 years of probation after he confessed to intoxication manslaughter in the June 15 crash on a rural road.

According to officials, the teenager and some friends were seen on surveillance video stealing two cases of beer from a store. He had seven passengers in his Ford F-350, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to testimony during the trial. The pickup fatally struck four pedestrians: Brian Jennings, 43; Breanna Mitchell, 24; Shelby Boyles, 21; and her mother Hollie Boyles, 52.


How did he get off with probation? Well:

Quote:
A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen is a product of something he called “affluenza” and doesn't link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege, the psychologist said in court, according to media reports.


Justification for this "diagnosis":
Quote:
That psychologist cited one instance when the boy, then 15, was caught in a parked pickup with a naked 14-year-old girl who was passed out. He was never punished, the psychologist said, noting to the court that the teenager was allowed to drink at a very young age, and even began driving at 13.


WTF?
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Dave G
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Well, it certainly seems the cure for this affliction is obviously to continue to allow the young man to commit atrocity after atrocity without any consequences. That'll teach him.
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Jonny Lawless
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Well, at least we still imprison people for owning some weed.
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Pete Goch
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OK, so the kid has no degree of accountability because he was never taught that actions have consequences. Whose fault is that?

Ah, so we should put the parents in jail for a few years while and the kid is placed in a foster home. Presumably one wherein he would learn, perhaps rather forcefully, that actions do indeed have consequences and that money can't buy your way out of it.

I might be OK with that.
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Poor people sure are uppity.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Truly disgusting, but part of a long tradition in which rich kids were given fair more leeway then poor kids.

Lesson from this, the rich are no more moral, and no better parents then the poor.
 
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Chad
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Only lesson I take from this is that good lawyers are worth their weight.

How they were able to get a jury to side with the defense is..... sad.
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J.L. Robert
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Just means that BGG.con is off my vacation planning list.

I'm not at all comfortable travelling to a state where it's open season on the non-wealthy.
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Brian M
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J.L.Robert wrote:
Just means that BGG.con is off my vacation planning list.

I'm not at all comfortable travelling to a state where it's open season on the non-wealthy.


You have to be really careful making trades and sales of games, since in Texas it's apparent legal to shoot someone for a business transaction you weren't happy with. But only if its after dark, so do all your exchanges during the day.
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Chad Ellis
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This reminds me of the Onion bit where a judge ruled that the young, blonde female defendant was going to be tried as a black man.

Essentially the defense argument is that he wasn't brought up right and so we can't expect him to be responsible for his behavior. Somehow I don't see that ever working if it wasn't such a rich/white version of that argument.
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Chad Ellis
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OK, after reading the article it looks like it's not a straight ten years of probation. He's going to a treatment facility that he can't leave, at least in theory. One of his attorneys pointed out that if he'd gotten the state max of twenty years he could have been out in two, whereas this sentence may keep him under state authority for the full ten years. No idea if that's true or how likely he is to get early release.

And at least the parents have to pick up the $450,000 annual treatment cost. Even some residents of Richistan might find that $4.5 million over ten years will sting a bit.
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Josh
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At the very least it is a slam dunk in the civil cases.
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Dave G
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Alaren wrote:
Is the problem that the kid got the sentence that he got, or that less affluent offenders get worse sentences? Did this kid deserve a harsher penalty or do criminals in general need to be treated more like this kid?

To what extent should background and life circumstance be taken into account in sentencing? Do we imprison people because they deserve it, or because we think it will rehabilitate them in some way, or based on the relative utility of imprisoning them, or what?

Noting the inequality itself is pointless for anything more than whipping up a furor among people who are envious of the affluent. The problem is not (and really never is) inequality per se. If his wealth got him an unjust sentence, that's a problem. If it required wealth to get him what is actually a just sentence, that's a problem. But they are very different problems requiring totally different approaches to correct.


I think you have to be willfully obtuse to not see the problems here, Ken. Since I know willfully obtuse is a specialty of yours, I'll try to break it down for you.

Problem: This kid's wealth earned him an unjust sentence, virtually no consequence at all.
Problem: Not only did his wealth inform his sentencing, but his defense actually argued that the first problem, the fact that his wealth had previously insulated him from justice, had caused him to be maladjusted in a way that he doesn't understand consequences and therefore can't be held accountable.


Is there some part of that you found to be unclear from Ben's post or the responses? This little pigfucker got drunk and ran over a family and he's not really being punished. Is it "envy of the affluent" if people think that's a pretty disgusting caricature of justice?
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Scott Russell
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djgutierrez77 wrote:


I think you have to be willfully obtuse to not see the problems here, Ken. Since I know willfully obtuse is a specialty of yours, I'll try to break it down for you.

Problem: This kid's wealth earned him an unjust sentence, virtually no consequence at all.


So your answer to Ken's first question is that he should be treated more like poor people currently are rather than treating poor people like he was?

Quote:
Problem: Not only did his wealth inform his sentencing, but his defense actually argued that the first problem, the fact that his wealth had previously insulated him from justice, had caused him to be maladjusted in a way that he doesn't understand consequences and therefore can't be held accountable.


And, are you are saying that maladjustment shouldn't be considered in sentencing (regardless of cause)? Or only that maladjustment for being rich shouldn't be considered?


Quote:
Is there some part of that you found to be unclear from Ben's post or the responses? This little pigfucker got drunk and ran over a family and he's not really being punished. Is it "envy of the affluent" if people think that's a pretty disgusting caricature of justice?


I'd shoot him, personally, but it looks like Ken had some valid questions. The largest one, do we attempt to rehab everyone? no one? Do we triage and rehab the ones possible? If so, how do we decide who is rehabilitatable and who isn't?
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Dave G
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You're deliberately missing the point as well, Scott.

qzhdad wrote:


So your answer to Ken's first question is that he should be treated more like poor people currently are rather than treating poor people like he was?



Yes. Yes it is. More importantly, the red herring here is Ken and yourself pretending not to understand that there's a difference between talking about the inherent injustice of mandatory minimum sentencing and some other legal nightmares born of the war on drugs and sentencing for getting drunk and killing four people with your car. No one ever gets up in arms about how unfair drunk driving sentences are, and Ken's typically smug "Oh, you liberals are all about rehabilitation and mitigating factors for black defendants, but now you want this poor little rich boy to be punished more harshly. Well I never!" routine is insulting to everyone's intelligence.

Quote:


And, are you are saying that maladjustment shouldn't be considered in sentencing (regardless of cause)? Or only that maladjustment for being rich shouldn't be considered?


I'm saying that completely made up maladjustment shouldn't be considered. If someone is mentally ill, I'm willing to consider whether they should face different consequences for their actions. If someone is going to trot out something as patently ridiculous as "affluenze," I'm going to be appalled when they're not laughed out of court.


Quote:


I'd shoot him, personally, but it looks like Ken had some valid questions. The largest one, do we attempt to rehab everyone? no one? Do we triage and rehab the ones possible? If so, how do we decide who is rehabilitatable and who isn't?


If I thought there was a shred of sincerity to Ken's questions, I might buy this. I don't, so I won't. Ken is not genuinely curious about rehabilitation. Ken wants to trip someone into appearing hypocritical when they complain about unfair sentencing or bias in the justice system. Ken can blow me, far as I'm concerned.
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Ben Vincent
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Quote:
Do we imprison people because they deserve it, or because we think it will rehabilitate them in some way, or based on the relative utility of imprisoning them, or what?


Yes.

That's the problem - we're not consistent.

It's not the sentencing I take issue with though - its the defense. Wouldn't the proper plea in this case be "not guilty by reason of insanity?" And does anyone really accept "affluenza" as a legitimate disorder?
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Dave G
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SabreRedleg wrote:
And does anyone really accept "affluenza" as a legitimate disorder?


I find the fact that anyone is even pretending to talk about it as if it's a serious thing totally maddening.
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I agree that the kid is probably an idiot who didn't know any better and was raised that way.

What I don't agree with is that he shouldn't be punished because he was never shown legal boundaries in his life. That argument is just idiotic.

Alaren wrote:
Your questioning of my sincerity is asinine. Have you ever written an entire paper on the virtue of retributive sentencing in light of Nietzschean ressentiment? Because I have.

And you wonder why people find you arrogant, over-educated and pompous.
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Chad Ellis
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Alaren wrote:


Noting the inequality itself is pointless for anything more than whipping up a furor among people who are envious of the affluent. The problem is not (and really never is) inequality per se. If his wealth got him an unjust sentence, that's a problem. If it required wealth to get him what is actually a just sentence, that's a problem. But they are very different problems requiring totally different approaches to correct.


First, a large enough double standard can be worth pointing out simply because it is a sign that something is wrong. If the punishment for crime X is a night in jail for one group and ten years in prison for another, then unless the definitions of the two groups merits different treatment the difference helps us see that there is something unjust going on, even if we don't know whether one night or ten years is more appropriate.

Second, inequality can actually be a problem on its own because it can lead to people against whom the deck looks stacked to deciding that if the game is rigged they shouldnt even try to play by the rules. Someone as over educated and arrogant as you should be familiar with th research on this topic.
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Mike Stiles
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Alaren wrote:
Simon Mueller wrote:
And you wonder why people find you arrogant, over-educated and pompous.


I actually don't wonder that at all.


You know it's the avatar right? You've gotta know it's the avatar.
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Caleb Symonds
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See, now this is exactly why they should make affluenza vaccinations required by law.
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Ummm, people are just a little self-adsorbed:

http://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/

Seems more like a social commentary than some kind of all-consuming affliction.
 
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Poor child must have had an horrific upbringing. If only he was raised by drunks and drug addicts so he would then have fewer issues and be treated as a regular person by authorities.
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Ben Vincent
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Interesting postscript to the affluenza story:

Quote:
It turns out, Ethan’s father – Fred Couch – was just arrested on Tuesday for pretending to be a police officer.

This arrest goes back to July 28th, when Texas police officers got a call related to a disturbance in North Richland Hill. When they arrived at the scene, they encountered Fred, who was pretending to be a reserve Lakeside police officer and insisting that he’d left his “police stuff” in his vehicle.

After some time, police let Fred leave after he flashed what seemed to be a badge and identification card. However, a former officer of the Lakeside police noticed that the badge Fred revealed didn’t look real and investigated the matter further.

It was discovered that Fred Couch was impersonating a police officer and has since been charged with false identification as an officer and is on $2,500 bond.

Previously, Fred has been arrested for theft, evading arrest and assaulting his ex-wife. He also has 18 traffic violations.
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James King
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SabreRedleg wrote:
Just heard about this story on the radio:

Quote:
A defense psychologist called it “affluenza,” a syndrome that keeps someone from a wealthy background from learning that bad behavior has consequences. That explanation helped a North Texas teenager get a sentence of probation after he drove while drunk and killed four pedestrians.

The 16-year-old was sentenced Tuesday in a Fort Worth juvenile court to 10 years of probation after he confessed to intoxication manslaughter in the June 15 crash on a rural road.

According to officials, the teenager and some friends were seen on surveillance video stealing two cases of beer from a store. He had seven passengers in his Ford F-350, was speeding and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, according to testimony during the trial. The pickup fatally struck four pedestrians: Brian Jennings, 43; Breanna Mitchell, 24; Shelby Boyles, 21; and her mother Hollie Boyles, 52.


How did he get off with probation? Well:

Quote:
A psychologist testified for the defense that the teen is a product of something he called “affluenza” and doesn't link bad behavior with consequences because his parents taught him that wealth buys privilege, the psychologist said in court, according to media reports.


Justification for this "diagnosis":
Quote:
That psychologist cited one instance when the boy, then 15, was caught in a parked pickup with a naked 14-year-old girl who was passed out. He was never punished, the psychologist said, noting to the court that the teenager was allowed to drink at a very young age, and even began driving at 13.

WTF?

It's the time-honored principle of "Wealth has its privileges".


 
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