(FORT WORTH, Texas) — The bond for Tonya Couch, the mother of “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch, has been reduced to $75,000 from $1 million on a charge of hindering apprehension of a fugitive.
Couch was arrested on Dec. 28 in Mexico along with her son, who was wanted on a probation violation and extradited to the United States. She was arraigned Friday in Fort Worth, Texas and held on $1 million bond.
During the bond hearing, Couch’s lawyers Stephanie Patten and Stephen Gordon argued that a freeze on her bank account and pending divorce have left her without access to funds to make bail.
“In this county, people accused of the most violent offenses don’t get their bonds set at $1 million,” Patten said.
Prosecutors argued that Couch had previously demonstrated a “willingness to flee the jurisdiction,” even if she was doing it to help her son. On the day she took off with Ethan to Mexico, she tried to withdraw $60,000 but could only get $30,000, they said.
“You can’t set a bail just to keep someone in jail,” Judge Wayne Salvant said. “We’re talking about a third-degree felony. Let’s look at it the way it is.”
Salvant set several conditions for the bail reduction. Couch will be required to live with her 29-year-old son while on bond and will need to report to community supervision immediately after she makes bond. She must also submit to urine sample testing and is banned from consuming alcohol.
Couch is not to change her address without alerting the court and must allow the Tarrant County probation department to visit her at home at any time. She will be required to wear a GPS tracking device.
Following her court appearance last Friday, her lawyers issued a sarcastic statement directed toward Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, which “thanked” him for “taking time out of his busy day” to escort Couch to a “Super Max” unit of the jail.
“We have never witnessed an elected official take such a personal interest and escort a suspect,” the statement said.
Couch’s son — being held in Mexico pending deportation proceedings — was placed on probation after he killed four people and injured several more in a drunk driving crash in 2013, when he was 16 years old.
The search for Couch and her son began after he missed one of his monthly check-ins, a condition of his probation.
During Ethan’s sentencing, a psychologist hired by his defense team coined the term “affluenza,” which he used to describe Ethan’s irresponsible lifestyle associated with his affluent upbringing.
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