Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has organised a petition calling for "affluenza teen" Ethan Couch's case to be moved to an adult court. Couch, who was caught by Mexican authorities on 29 December 2015, remains in the juvenile system for the fatal 2013 drink driving accident that left four dead.
"Couch, an underage drunk driver who hit and killed four people and injured several others, was never held responsible for his actions. MADD was outraged, along with millions of other when the judge sentenced Couch to a stint in rehab and 10 years in probation after the defence successfully argued that he was too rich to understand what he had done was wrong, better known as 'Affluenza'," the group wrote. The organisation is aiming to get 30,000 signatures before Couch's 19 January hearing.
MADD argued that the 18-year-old was no longer a child and that his actions were not that of a child either. "The nation has watched with anger and disdain as Couch continues to show blatant disregard for the law. The families impacted will never have their loved ones back. Couch must be treated like the adult he is." At the time of publishing, the group had received 9,370 signatures to its petition.
MADD president Colleen Sheehey-Church told ABC News: "Justice has to be served, Ethan. And it's time. You're not a kid. You cannot get away with killing four people and seriously injuring others without some sort of consequences."
Couch, who was arrested along with his mother Tonya Couch, remains in a Mexican migrant holding facility after filing papers for a stay of deportation. The teen's mother, however, was returned to the US and has been charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon. After a brief stay in California, Tonya Couch was returned to Texas and arraigned in Fort Worth on 8 January. She did not enter a formal plea.
According to CNN, Tarrant County Magistrate Judge Matt King ordered Tonya Couch to be examined after the court found "reasonable cause" to think she suffers from "a mental illness or is a person with mental retardation." The order must be completed within 30 days, court documents revealed. The examination will help determine if there is clinical evidence to support the argument that she is not competent to stand trial.