LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest in the case of a Texas teenager serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an “affluenza” defense (all times local):
Attorneys for the mother of a fugitive 18-year-old known for using an “affluenza” defense in a drunken-driving case say she never violated Texas law when she and her son went to Mexico.
Lawyers for Tonya Couch released a statement Thursday confirming she was in the custody of California authorities in Los Angeles. Couch was deported from Mexico and was flown to Los Angeles early Thursday morning.
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Attorneys Stephanie K. Patten and Steve Gordon say their client looks forward to being returned to Texas “as soon as possible.”
Their statement says that, “While the public may not like what she did, may not agree with what she did, or may have strong feelings against what she did, make no mistake: Tonya did not violate any law of the State of Texas and she is eager to have her day in court.”
Her son, Ethan, is being held in an immigration facility in Mexico City.
Federal authorities say Tonya Couch was flown to Los Angeles after she was deported from Mexico only because it was the most efficient way back to the U.S.
Authorities say Couch fled to Mexico with her 18-year-old son as Texas prosecutors investigated whether he violated probation in a drunken-driving case. Her son, Ethan Couch, used an “affluenza” defense during that 2013 case.
Richard Taylor is the acting U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas. He said Thursday that there was no specific reason Tonya Couch was flown to Los Angeles instead of Texas.
He says authorities simply chose the most “rapid, secure and efficient means to return the fugitive back to the U.S.”
Texas prosecutors say the mother of a fugitive teenager known for using an “affluenza” defense has been charged with hindering apprehension of a felon after fleeing with her son to Mexico.
Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Samantha Jordan said Thursday that Tonya Couch has formally been charged in Texas. Her bond was set at $1 million.
Couch is currently being held in a Los Angeles jail after being deported from Mexico late Wednesday. Jordan said the timing of Couch’s return to Texas is contingent on when Los Angeles County schedules an extradition hearing.
Los Angles prosecutors say that won’t happen until at least next week.
Authorities believe Couch and her 18-year-old son, Ethan, fled to Mexico in November as prosecutors investigated whether he had violated his probation in a fatal 2013 drunken-driving accident.
A call to Tonya Couch’s attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office says no extradition hearing will be scheduled this week for Tonya Couch.
Authorities say Couch fled to Mexico with her 18-year-old son as Texas prosecutors investigated whether he violated probation in a drunken-driving case.
She was deported late Wednesday and flown to Los Angeles, where she’s being held in jail. Her son, Ethan, is still being held in Mexico.
District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison says no hearing was planned Thursday in Los Angeles, ahead of the New Year’s holiday, and that it’s unclear whether she’ll be court early next week.
Attorneys for Ethan Couch used an “affluenza” defense during the sentencing phase of his trial for the fatal 2013 drunken-driving accident, arguing that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility.
A Mexican immigration official says Texas teen Ethan Couch will have no special privileges at the Mexico City detention center where he is being held.
Couch is likely to spend, weeks, if not months, as he appeals his deportation back to the United States.
The immigration official spoke on condition of anonymity because he or she was not authorized to be quoted by name.
That official tells AP reporter Mark Stevenson that a judge has agreed to hear arguments on Couch’s appeal.
Police say the mother of a fugitive Texas teen known for using an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident is being held in a Los Angeles jail after being deported from Mexico.
Officer Norma Eisenman says Tonya Couch was picked up by the LAPD’s fugitive task force shortly after 1:30 a.m. Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport.
Eisenman says Couch will be held until U.S. marshals arrive to take her to Texas, where she and her son, 18-year-old Ethan Couch, live and where he was on probation for the 2013 crash.
Authorities believe the Couches fled to Mexico in November as prosecutors investigated whether he had violated his probation. Ethan Couch remains in a Mexican jail.
Eisenman didn’t know why Tonya Couch came through Los Angeles or when she would be transported.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Eugene Hwang said Thursday that he couldn’t immediately comment.