Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Dr. G. Dick MIller, the "Affluenza Shrink, is Back in the News
Ethan Couch is a spoiled rich kid, an incredibly spoiled, incredibly rich spoiled brat. He got away with killing four and injuring nine. I blogged his disgusting sentence on December 15, 2013. 16 year old Ethan got tanked up with alcohol and valium at a party in his mansion. His blood alcohol tested .24 three hours after the accident. He piled into his pickup with seven friends and plowed down at 70MPH a mother, daughter, youth minister, and a stranded motorist working on her car. All four were killed. Nine others were injured. The tragedy occurred an hour after a surveillance tape captured him stealing two cases of beer from Walmart. His rich parents exercised the Golden Rule of Law – Those with the gold make the rules. They hired the best defense attorneys and found a clinical psychologist, Dr. G. Dick Miller, who crafted the new defense of “Affluenza.” Dr. Miller is a hired gun for defense attorneys. The first listing in his areas of expertise is “Consulting services for criminal attorneys.” Other terms can be substituted for “hired gun.” He knows who pays his bills. Judge Jean Boyd of the Juvenile Court accepted both Ethan’s guilty plea and the defense of Affluenza. The prosecutor sought 20 years imprisonment. Judge Boyd sentenced Ethan to ten years of probation with treatment. His parents planned to send him to Newport Beach for a $450,000/year facility. (He’s now in a more traditional facility in Texas at taxpayers’ expense.) A volcanic eruption ensued in Texas, a land of no volcanoes. A petition circulated seeking the Governor’s removal of the judge. She has decided to retire at the end of the year. The victims and their families filed suit against Ethan, his parents, and the father’s business. The family settled all but one suit. Lucas McConnell’s suit is moving forward. His attorneys sought disclosure of Dr. Miller’s records. Judge R. H. Wallace, Jr. granted their request. The goal is probably not only to discover Ethan’s background, but also to determine if Dr. Miller is something of a quack. I’ll love to know the amount of his fee. Ethan’s attorney filed an emergency writ of mandamus with the Court of Appeals to stay the discovery. Their primary argument is the strong Texas law protecting the confidentiality of juvenile records. A secondary argument is that these records are not relevant in the civil suit since the psychologist is not an expert in this case. The problem for defense counsel is twofold. First, Dr. Miller was a witness for Ethan at the criminal proceedings. His records were discoverable. Second, Dr. Miller is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. He is publicly talking about the case, the most recent is an almost half hour interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN a short time ago. Dr. Miller now claims to regret using the word “Affluenza.” He said “I do believe we used to call these people spoiled brats.” A “spoiled brat” defense does not work in court with celebrities, athletes, actors and musicians. “Affluenza” has a pseudo psychological cachet to it. He believes the treatment has a 80% chance of Ethan Couch becoming a “fully functional citizen” under the plan versus only 10-20% of jail time. Judge Boyd also had a preference for rehabilitation of minors - at least rich, white minors. The Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay. Justice is still to be served.