Ethan Couch Case Sparks Sentencing Controversy in Texas

In 2004, Roy Adams, Jr. struck and killed a police officer who had another driver stopped by the side of the road in North Texas. When the case reached court, he was given a 12.5 year prison sentence for DUI and intoxicated manslaughter.

In a similar, well-publicized case, 16-year-old Ethan Couch was given a 10 year probation sentence. Adams’ mother believes that Couch’s family had both the influence and affluence to skew the justice system for their child, and she plans to picket the local courthouse until her own son is out of prison.

The Tarrant County District Attorney claims that the young Texan did receive a fair trial. While both cases involved intoxication manslaughter, they differ in their details. Couch was 16 years old when his accident occurred. Adams was 28 when he killed a police officer on duty. As such, Couch was tried as a juvenile, and Adams was tried as an adult. To date, Adams has not admitted he committed the offense, despite court records indicating that his blood alcohol content was .11 at the time of the accident. Accordingly, he has been denied parole.

As the diversity between these two cases exemplifies, no two DUI, intoxicated manslaughter or other personal injury cases are alike. Prison terms will differ based on specific circumstances; each case is individually tried on its facts. Adams’ mother may feel her son is being unduly punished, but an objective third party must consider all the facts before reaching conclusions on the case. For this reason alone, it is smart to hire a qualified personal injury attorney to handle such serious cases.

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