"‘Affluenza’ Judge Gives Poor, Black Kid More Severe Sentence For Lesser Crime"
by Michael Hayne [http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/12/18/affluenza-judge-poor-black-kid-sentence/]:
So you know how the “Affluenza Judge” did the world a disservice when she let a spoiled, sniveling rich brat off the hook — with no jail time — after driving drunk and killing four people [http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/12/12/ethan-couch-affluenza/]? 16-year-old Ethan Couch was freed by Judge Jean Boyd due to a fictitious condition known as “Affluenza.” Couch’s lawyer claimed that this made-up condition occurs when a person’s wealth makes them unable to understand the consequences of their actions. Instead of jail time, the Affluenza Judge ruled that Couch gets probation and time in a posh treatment center paid for by his wealthy, workaholic dad. We’re sure this young sociopath has a career on Wall Street in the future.
The ‘Affluenza’ judge gives poor black kids tougher sentences for lesser crimes.
In case you were wondering if there was some sort of shot you can take for Affluenza, you probably can’t afford it– especially if you’re a black teenager. The Affluenza Judge didn’t seem to consider mental health issues when she sentenced a 14-year-old black kid to 10 years in Juvie for an unfortunate but far lesser crime. The teenaged boy punched a man, who then died after falling to the ground and hitting his head on the pavement. Obviously it was a reckless act and it’s sad that the man died from it, but it’s unlikely that the kid meant to kill him.
The message sent by the Affluenza Judge is much like the message we get from Washington DC and Wall Street. It’s all about austerity, punishment, and “personal responsibility” for the poor and coddling, tax-funded handouts, and lack of accountability for the rich.
The Affluenza Judge’s rulings are typical. We throw way too many black kids in jail.
Low-income black kids often commit crimes after years of experiencing abuse, neglect, poverty, racism and other disadvantages. They also get thrown in jail more often for non-violent drug crimes. HuffPo reports that 50% of people in prison for drug-related crimes are black [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/drug-war-mass-incarceration_n_3034310.html]. A recent study released by The Sentencing Project [http://sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/jj_The_Lives_of_Juvenile_Lifers.pdf], a group that advocates for juvenile sentencing reform, confirmed that black males are grossly over-represented among juveniles that are sentenced to life without parole in the United States. According to the study, 97 percent are male, and 60 percent are black.
Here are some more of the study’s findings, via the BlackYouthProject [http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/03/report-more-black-juveniles-are-sentenced-to-life-without-parole/]:
* Of those incarcerated, the vast majority comes from violent homes, and nearly half had experienced physical abuse.
* 40 percent of all JLWOP prisoners had been in special education classes, and less than half had been in school when they committed their crimes.
* More than a quarter had a parent in prison, and 60 percent had close relatives in prison.
So while the Affluenza judge enabled Couch to have a successful life in finance or politics, she seems to make sure that poor black kids get tough justice.