(A stock photo of a teen driver — not actually Ethan Couch.)
I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard the story about the wealthy white teenager who killed four people while drunk driving. As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, 16-year-old Ethan Couch got off — sentenced to therapy — because the judge agreed that the kid was a victim of “affluenza”: his parents gave him everything he wanted, and he believed that being rich meant that he wouldn’t have to face consequences for his actions.
The kid’s not wrong; the fact that he’s not facing incarceration for killing four people kind of proves the point. A poor white kid would be in jail right now. A rich black kid would be in jail right now. A poor black kid would be picking out items for his last supper right now. Anybody who thinks that this kind of lenience would be given to anybody other than a wealthy white dauphin is wrong and stupid (and probably racist). The rich kid isn’t in jail because rich people don’t suffer the full force of consequences for their actions.
That said… the judge isn’t wrong either. When you have a jerk-off prick of a 16-year-old, as this kid appears to be, it’s probably not his fault. Not really. My outrage isn’t that Couch is getting off, it’s that so many other teens and young people are being incarcerated without this kind of compassion.
Not that there aren’t people who deserve jail time behind this. It’s just that those people are Couch’s parents….
“What I said was terrible, mean and downright stupid…. I wasn’t trying to scare anyone, I was trying to be witty and sarcastic. I failed and I was arrested.”
– Justin Carter, in a letter to District Judge Jack Robison
On February 14, in New Braunfels, Texas, Justin Carter was arrested on terroristic threat charges. Carter, then age 18, had been posting on a Facebook page for the game League of Legends. When a friend called Carter crazy, Carter allegedly volleyed back that, yeah, he was messed up in the head and that he was going to “shoot up a kindergarten, watch the blood rain down and eat the beating heart out of one of them.” A Canadian woman who viewed the comment reported Carter to law enforcement officials.
Carter’s father insists that his son immediately followed his first Facebook comment with “LOL” and “JK,” clear indications that Carter was . . . laughing out loud and joking when he wrote. Lest you think that explicitly stating that you are joking is enough to insulate your comments from criminal liability, Justin Carter was arrested, then charged by the Comal County Criminal District Attorney. In Comal County, txtspk cannot save you….
Remember Sydney Spies, the teenage dream from Colorado who fought valiantly to get her provocative pictures featured in her high school yearbook, all in the name of free expression? Despite the threat of a lawsuit and national media coverage, all of Spies’s racy photos were rejected — but she was able to earn a spot in Americans’ hearts (and spankbanks) around the country.
The young Hollywood hopeful landed a small role in an upcoming SyFy movie, and her mother, Denise “Miki” Spies, was preparing to ship her daughter out to Los Angeles in the hopes of her making it big. Why not throw one last bash to celebrate Sydney’s single success in stardom? And that’s apparently where all the trouble began for this mother and daughter duo.
Little did Sydney and Miki know that their alleged exploits at the party would someday be able to serve as the basis for a Lifetime movie. The pair could face jail time for allegedly serving alcohol to minors — but at least they’re back in the headlines. (And this underage drinking drama could earn Sydney another line on her iMDB profile, so she’s probably patting herself on the back.)
Let’s discuss the charges that the Spies are currently facing, and all of the allegations that make them appear to be quite the hot messes….
UPDATE (1/10/2013): Please note the update at the end of this post concerning the dismissal of the charge in this case.
This is going to go down as one of those “partners behaving badly” stories, but I don’t think it should. Underage drinking is a problem because kids don’t know how to handle alcohol and they drink too much and die. Or they drink too much and then do something stupid and die. Dead teenagers are not a good thing.
Many people think the solution is to somehow “ban” teenage drinking. Note that currently people under 21 aren’t allowed to buy alcohol. Note also that teens almost always still find a way to drink.
Instead of only focusing on ways to prevent teens from drinking, can’t we also at least think about ways to allow teens to drink in a safe environment? I think every high school should have at least one “cool” parent. One parent whose house you can go over to and have a couple of beers without everybody freaking out. Then, if you get too drunk or stupid or whatever, the “cool” parent can drive you home, or keep an eye on you, or tell the attending physician exactly how much you had to drink before you lapsed into a pansy-boy “alcohol poisoning” coma.
So yeah, to the rest of society, this Biglaw partner has been accused of something really bad. To me, he’s just been accused of providing a vital public service….
The other day, I became aware of the term “Yolo,” the hip new teen abbreviation for “you only live once.” It seemed to me the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a long time, and the most recent indication that I’m quickly becoming a curmudgeon who grumbles things like “hurr, hurr, kids these days,” right before I hobble off to use my typewriter and abacus.
Unfortunately, it took less than a week before I found out about an even stupider “trend” that bored suburbanites in the flyover states have taken a fancy to. If you thought planking was bad, you’ve clearly never heard of “Urban Skittles.”
Ah, the high school yearbook photo. Teenage girls spend hours upon hours primping and prepping before stepping in front of the camera for the picture that will forever be remembered as their high school legacy.
And while most high school girls are worried about hiding their acne, or getting their braces removed in time for the big day, one girl in Colorado is busy worrying about whether her school will even allow her photo to be published in the 2012 yearbook.
School administrators say that her attire in her photo of choice violates the school’s dress code, but why? Probably because the photo in question features the teenager posing a bit too provocatively for a girl who just turned 18. She’s considering taking legal action against the school for trampling on her right to free expression.
So who is this mystery girl? What does her scandalous yearbook photo look like? Keep reading for pictures and video of this too-sexy-for-high-school, First Amendment freedom fighter….
An engineer at Google may have abused his unfettered access to users’ account information. Gawker reports that David Barksdale, 27, a former Site Reliability Engineer with Google, allegedly tapped into the accounts of four teenagers, using information from their Gmail, Google Voice, and GTalk chat accounts in order to harass them.
Gawker doesn’t provide much in the way of sources, so I have to assume that this story was relayed to the blog by the teenagers themselves, who are not identified. One example of Barksdale’s alleged harassment is unblocking himself on a teen’s chat list and looking up the name and phone number of one of the teen’s girlfriends and threatening to call her. Given all the damage that could be done raiding someone’s email account, this seems rather unimpressive. More Mean Girls than Enemy of the State-inspired.
The Daniel Faraday lookalike is probably wishing he could use a time travel machine to prevent himself from ever getting involved with the teens. What kind of trouble is he going to get into beyond the humiliation of gracing Gawker’s pages?
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
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