Well, it would if you were any normal U.S. citizen. But Robert H. Richards IV is no ordinary citizen. Don’t recognize his name? How about the name DuPont? Yes, THAT DuPont. Richards is one of the heirs of the DuPont family fortune, which allows him to maintain the lavish lifestyle of an unemployed playboy and to live in a $1.8 million mansion… and apparently to rape small children with impunity.
So, how many years did DuPont heir Robert Richards receive for raping his own daughter? None. He got probation. Let’s pause and reflect on that one for a moment. This guy RAPED his own daughter. His 3-year-old daughter. He wasn’t just accused of this, he pled guilty to a lesser charge and was convicted of it. And all he got was probation. Why did he get probation in a case that would have landed most Americans not only in, but probably under the nearest penitentiary? Well, at this point we all know it was because of his wealth. But what was the excuse for leniency given by the judge in the case, Jan Jurden? Richards would not “fare well in prison.”
Wait, what? OF COURSE he won’t “fare well in prison.” It’s PRISON, people are not supposed to “fare well” there. Besides, what does that even mean? With his family’s wealth and clear political influence, he would be able to buy his way into a nice, cushy Club Fed penitentiary. He won’t be with the plebes and the riff-raff in a local pound-you-in-the-ass prison. Moreover, Richards is no shrinking violet. He’s listed in court records as 6’4” and 250+ pounds. That’s a BIG guy, more than big enough to handle himself in lockup. Yes, I realize that wealthy inmates and persons convicted of sexual crimes are often looked down upon and targeted by other inmates. But maybe they shouldn’t commit those kinds of crimes in the first place.
The whole concept of “affluenza” is complete and utter bullshit. If we accept, if only for a moment, that “affluenza” really is a disease, wouldn’t the cure be pretty simple? Throw the perpetrators in jail, and fine the crap out of them. Take ALL of their money. “Affluence” gone, “affluenza” cured. Problem solved, problem staying solved. The problem is, this suggestion would never work. The system is stacked so far in favor of the wealthy that the average citizen, and more importantly the average victim, never stands a chance. Our nations’ growing trend to treat criminals as victims and to look out for their interests over the interests of the country and more importantly the interests of victims, do not bode well for our future as a nation.
UPDATE (December 19 2015): perhaps unsurprisingly, the now-18-year-old affluenza “victim” Ethan Couch is on the lam, fleeing from authorities seeking him on parole violation after a video surfaced of him drinking underage (again) at a teen party. It is suspected that his mother is with him. Good job, Judge Boyd.
UPDATE (April 4, 2018): In 2015, Couch violated the terms of his probation and fled to Mexico with his mother, Tonya Couch. They were found and sent back to the U.S., where a Texas judge ordered nearly two years of jail time for Couch. He was released in April 2018, at age 20.
UPDATE (June 15, 2019): His mother, while incarcerated for probation violation petitioned a Tarrant County court for financial assistance claiming she’s indigent and unable to pay for her defense because she can’t hold a job due to the notoriety of her son’s case.
Scott Faith is a veteran of a half-dozen combat deployments and has served in several different Special Operations units over the course of his Army career. Scott’s writing focuses largely on veterans’ issues, but he is also a big proponent of Constitutional rights and has a deep interest in politics. He often allows other veterans who request anonymity to publish their work under his byline. Scott welcomes story ideas and feedback on his articles, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.