DALLAS - "Affluenza" teen Ethan Couch will stay in a juvenile detention facility as he waits for a judge to rule on transferring his case to the adult system.
Judge Timothy Menikos sided with Couch's attorneys during a court hearing Friday morning in Fort Worth. Prosecutors had asked that the 18-year-old be moved to an adult jail.
Apparently the laws regarding adults who are still in the juvenile system are unclear. The judge reserved the right to send Couch to the Tarrant County jail at a later date.
“I feel good about the judge’s decision and I believe that ultimately he will transfer him,” said Tarrant County prosecutor Richard Alpert. “The important thing is that he is here. He’s not going anywhere. He’s not going to Mexico again. We’ve got him here under our control.”
The hearing marked the first time Couch appeared in court since being deported from Mexico on Thursday.
Defense attorney Scott Brown said his client is relieved to be home and concerned about what the future holds for him. Couch will not fight the transfer of his probation case to adult court, Brown said.
“We are optimistic Ethan can successfully complete his probation once he’s transferred to adult court,” he said.
Couch and his mother left the country last month as an investigation was launched into whether he violated probation for the 2013 drunken driving wreck that killed four people.
Tonya Couch is now under house arrest at her oldest son’s home in Fort Worth.
“It is a day I said many times that I would breathe a sigh of relief when they were both locked up in Tarrant County and been processed through the Tarrant County system. That day has come, and it is a good day for all who are involved in this,” said Sheriff Dee Anderson.
Couch was 16-years-old when the deadly crash happened in south Fort Worth. He infamously got put on 10 years of probation after his lawyers convinced a judge that he was raised such a spoiled child that he did not know right from wrong.
Prosecutors, the victims’ families and Mothers Against Drunk Driving argue Couch still isn’t remorseful and has never apologized for his actions.
“Just because he hasn’t come out and given a public statement doesn’t mean he’s not remorseful,” Brown said in response.
MADD has promised to be at the Feb. 19 hearing where the judge will decide if Couch’s case should be transferred to the adult court. The organization has collected thousands of signatures on an online petition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.