“Law reflects the type of society in which it is found.”(Barkan, 2009) This is one of the four major assumptions of law. This case involves a wealthy and privileged young adolescent male who decided to drink and drive and as a result he killed 4 people and injured 2 others. Couch pleaded guilty to the 4 counts of manslaughter and 2 counts of intoxication assault. In the State of Texas, a manslaughter charge bears a sentence that ranges from 2 to 20 years in the state jail.
Attention was brought to this case because Couch’s attorney argued his client’s actions were a result of his wealthy upbringing and his client did not need to go to prison but needed rehabilitation services instead. The term used to describe this behavior is “affluenza” which means Couch was a product of his wealthy environment and his parents never established boundaries for their son. In Layman’s terms, Ethan Couch did not know any better and therefore should not receive a punishment as severe as the one that he deserved. The presiding judge agreed with the defense team and rendered a 10 year probation sentence which caused outrage within the community as well as the country...
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.... They go hand in hand.
When law is defined as governmental social control, one could interpret it as the law doing what it deems necessary to control the society in which it governs. Sometimes it aggravates the situation more than helping it as seen in the Affluenza case. When the law is defined as the maintenance of social order, it could be interpreted as the law keeping elites happy and then working its way down the caste system where inequality begins to rear its ugly head.
In conclusion, this evaluation tells how the today’s legal system favors the elite. The assumption that the law reflects the society in which it is found rings true as one can see the difference in how a traditional society would have sentenced Ethan Couch and how the modern society did sentence him. The functions and dysfunctions of the law go hand in hand in how the law is also defined.
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