Ethan Couch's High-Powered Mexican Lawyer Says the 'Affluenza' Teen's 'Human Rights Are Being Infringed Upon'
Prominent Mexican attorney Fernando Benitez says he may fight his client's deportation if it is deemed to be unfair and unlawful
The high-powered Mexican lawyer hired to represent so-called “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch has suggested his human rights are being violated by Mexican authorities who want to kick him out of the country instead of going through the traditional channels for extradition.
The 18-year-old, who pleaded guilty to a drunk-driving crash that killed four people in 2013, won a stay that temporarily prevents him from being deported following his apprehension in Peurto Vallarta last week.
“Maybe the Mexican authorities are going along with a plan to get him back quickly, but they’re disguising an extradition as a deportation,” prominent Mexican attorney Fernando Benitez told NBC News on Monday. “We’re not gonna go along with that. Because, of course, human rights are being infringed upon.”
Couch’s mother Tonya was deported on Thursday and detained immediately after landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Benitez filed an injunction to delay Couch’s deportation process, however, for fear the teen would be “kicked out of the country without due process,” according to NBC News.
Benitez told PEOPLE on Monday that he planned to meet with his client for the first time on Tuesday to discuss his pending deportation, the legality of which is currently being examined by a Mexican judge.
“We believe that if American authorities want to extradite him, they should get the State Department to file a petition, asking for his deportation,” he said, adding that “if the judge finds there were violations, we may be inclined to dispute his deportation.”
Couch, who killed four people while driving drunk at the age of 16 in 2013, was spared jail time after his attorney argued that he suffered from “affluenza” because of his privileged upbringing. Couch was instead sentenced to 10 years of probation, which prevents him from driving a car, doing drugs or drinking alcohol.
The teen and his mother allegedly fled to Mexico earlier this month after allegedly probation-violating video footage of Couch appeared on Twitter. The pair were tracked to a Mexican apartment soon after, when one of them used a cell phone to place a Domino’s Pizza order.