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Wealthy People and Crimes they get away with


Wealthy and Above the Law

Take a moment and define a person's life's wealth. For most people, the working class people, life wealth is defined as the gratitude of life a person values in their everyday world. However, the upper class people, wealthy people, define their life's wealth with a dollar sign. It doesn't come as a surprise that nearly every year there is a scandal being headlined in the news media about a wealthy person and the crime they committed. The fact is, it happens so often that society has become accustom to it. Highlighted in this paper are six wealthy individuals whom received nowhere close to the proper sentencing for crimes committed ranging from domestic violence to murder, from 2006 to present day, as well as, a couple of cases from 1997 that demonstrate two wealthy men receiving appropriate sentencing for their crimes. More often than not, society sees wealthy people continuing to get a slap on their wrist for their crimes resulting in their moral compass to be compromised. It is apparent that society allows wealthy people to use their money, social class and legal system to avoid paying consequences for their crime year after year.

The act of being wealthy can impair or affect the moral judgement of a human being resulting in implacable damage without consequences. Ethan Couch, sixteen, from a wealthy family in Texas is the poster boy for causing damage due to money. In 2013, Couch and his friends stole two cases of beer from the local Walmart and had a party at his house. Later that night, intoxicated Couch and several friends took his father's company truck to go to a store, in which he hit and killed four people as well as injuring nine others along the way. Couch was arrested and plead guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter along with two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury. Using his right to waive a jury, Couch was at the mercy of a juvenile judge. Couch's prior 2013 citations, being a minor in possession of alcohol and for consuming alcohol as a minor came to light, supporting the idea of a continued pattern, thus bring about the prosecutors wanting him to face the maximum of 20 years in prison. However, "Couch's attorneys used an 'affluenza' defense at his trial..., saying the then 16-year-old had grown up with a sense of entitlement and developed poor judgement after being coddled by his wealthy parents" (Strauss). The ability to kill four people because having money is depressing didn't flow well with the news outlets. The use of the word "affluenza" resulted in many headliners which caused Couch to be deemed the "affluenza" teen. On sentencing day, Couch was given ten years of probation and a stay at a drug and alcohol treatment center. This moment proved that the victims' life's were not as important as the life of the repeat offender.

Fast forwarding two years later, Ethan Couch, being rehabilitated in society was living his life to the fullest, captured on video at a party. The terms to Couch's probation occurred to him as the video leaked via internet, causing him and his mother to flee to Mexico to avoid possible charges from probation violations. After missing a mandatory drug test and office visit with his probation officer, Couch was listed as a fugitive. Tips lead to Couch and his mother's arrest, where he fought extradition orders and remained in Mexico. His mother is currently facing ten years in jail for aiding and abiding a fugitive as well as using approximately $30,000 dollars to support Couch as he was on the run. Once Couch entered the United States, his probation violations caught up to him as an adult in the court of law. His current situation should of been a worst case scenario resulting in a prison term of at least ten years, but "A Texas county judge sentenced the so-called "affluenza" teen on Wednesday to serve four consecutive 180-day terms in jail for violating a juvenile probation deal that kept him out of prison after he killed four people while driving drunk in 2013" (Herskovitz). To clarify, in this case, having money means a life is worth six months and all other offenses are non-existent. To make matters worse, Couch has never fully accepted his wrong doings and no apologizes have been given to the families of his victims.

If being wealthy wasn't already a perk, being the person that makes millionaires wealthier, like Martin Joel Erzinger, comes with the perk of a get out of jail free card for any crime committed. In this case, Erzinger, a wealth manager at Morgan Stanley in Colorado was involved in a hit and run in 2010. The events leading up to the accident are still unclear to Erzinger, who suffers from sleep apnea, and is unsure of what occurred. According to the victim, a wealthy doctor, was a cyclist on the side of the road at the same time Erzinger swerved off, hitting him. Erzinger then fled the scene leaving the victim to potentially bleed out and kept driving till he came to a Pizza Hut parking lot where he stopped. According to Greenwald of The Huffington Post, "...he called the Mercedes auto assistance service to report damage to his vehicle, and asked that his car be towed, records show. He did not ask for law enforcement assistance, according to court records." It is not understood if Erzinger at this time realized he hit someone but was arrested later for the hit and run. Erzinger should have been charged with two felonies for the hit and run and fleeing the scene but was only charged with a misdemeanor. The district attorney reasoning is as followed, "If he were charged with a felony, he would be required to report that fact to licensing agencies; a felony conviction could result in his fund manager license being rescinded" (Greenwald). Along with the misdemeanor, Erzinger offered to pay restitution to his victim, who had to endure countless surgeries. In this case it is apparent that the well-being of the offender is more important than the victim as long as there is money to pay them off with. Several articles relating to this case stated that Erzinger's ability to pay was another reason the district attorney allowed him to keep his license, even though the victim himself was well off and wanted prison time for Erzinger. Essentially, the ability to make money for others is more important than justice for the victim.

The negative impact of a consequence for a crime on a wealthy person's life is more sympathized with due to their social class versus the impact on the actual victim. The most current case relating to this is the sexual assault committed by a Stanford University student, Brock Turner. After a party, an inebriated Turner was discovered on top of a partially naked unconscious woman by two Stanford alumni students on bikes. Turner was held by the bystanders after an altercation from fleeing the scene of the crime. He was then arrested and charged with five felony counts that could result in ten to fourteen years in prison. Due to the sexual assault, Turner was expelled from Stanford University almost immediately. Out of the five original counts, Turner was found guilty of three: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object. At sentencing the judge gave Turner only six months in the county jail and three years of probation instead of the six years' prosecutors were wanting.

Even the words of the victim to the judge and Turner prior to sentencing highlighted the difference of class status, "If a first time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be?" In hopes of Turner receiving six years in person she continues in her letter with recommendations for his time there, "...Throughout incarceration I hope he is provided with appropriate therapy and resources to rebuild his life. I request that he educates himself about the issue of campus sexual assault. I hope he accepts proper punishment and pushes himself to reenter society as a better person" (Bay Area News Group). Due to the lenient sentencing, it seems that the judge took the letter from Turner's father into consideration rather than the victims. Stack from The New York Times, references Turner's fathers letter "...his father complained that his son's life had been ruined for "20 minutes of action" fueled by alcohol and promiscuity" and then ending the letter stating probation is the best outcome for his son. It is implicated that Turner will see no more than three months in jail for his crime. It is apparent that Tuner came out on top in this situation, even though his family states this situation ruined him. The thoughts of the victim and internal wounds caused by Tuner are nowhere in their minds.

Social class discrimination is not only seen in the United States, but also in a place like London, England. Take Colin Read for an example, he's a wealthy consultant at LEK Consulting, who was convicted of causing bodily harm to his wife in 2006. Shortly after they married, domestic violence occurred resulting in several altercations that were triggered by household duties not upheld to Read's expectations. Read slashed his wife's feet with a knife as she was sleeping because his sandwiches were not prepared for him when he got home. He then beat her with his fist as she complained. The next day, Reid was confronted by his wife in regards of the abuse resulting in Reid beating his wife again. Mrs. Reid was then branded twice with an iron a week later after failing to iron a shirt properly for Reid's corporate party causing Reid to be arrested a few days later. According to Weiss from FilthyRich, "... the judge was thinking of sentencing him to community service, he declined to do so because he didn't think that the busy executive could find the time in his schedule for volunteer work" subsequently leading to Reid being fined £2,000 pounds (approximately $3200 in U.S. currency) for the crimes. Reid stated at the court house that he will be able to pay the fine within 28 days. The fact that Reid's job was more important than getting justice for the victim is proof enough that the upper class will prevail allowing more upper class citizens to test the waters of criminal activities.

Hinted in the previous four cases, the legal system is a big part of wealthy people being given unimaginable sentences for their crimes. It is apparent that the legal system has two different forms of justice systems, one for the wealthy and the other for the working class. Introducing Samuel Curtis Johnson III, a billionaire who likes to touch his twelve-year-old stepdaughter. In 2011, Johnson, during a counseling made a comment in regards to the sexual events with the teenager that required a mandated report to the officials. He was then arrested and charged with several felony counts for the sexual assaults that occurred over a three-year period that could result in a forty-year prison term. However, due to the incorporation of the victim and her mother the state's case was weak causing Johnson to be charged with a misdemeanor. Johnson "...was convicted of fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to four months in jail, short of the one-year maximum. He was also fined $6,000" (The Associated Press). The fact of the matter is, the offender's own words caused the offenses to come to light. Even without the help of the victim, Johnson's words and the continued assault for three years should have been evident enough for the legal system to keep the felony charges against him. "He received an eight-year prison sentence in 2009 for raping his toddler daughter, but the sentencing order signed by a Delaware judge said "defendant will not fare well" in prison and the eight years were suspended" (Conlon & Gallman). With Richards only receiving eight years of probation for his crimes due to his inability to survive in prison shows how the legal system, supposed to provide justice, failed the victim. The outrage from the judge's decision mimicked the case of the "Affluenza" teen, resulting in many to discourage the ability of the legal system in this country.

Convicted criminals, Allen Blackthorne and John DuPont, are men of wealth that received appropriate sentencing for their crimes. In 1997, Blackthorne, was not interested in the relocation of his children based on the current custody agreement established by the court in favor of his ex-wife. "...Blackthorne, who used a private detective to track down his ex-wife and paid several men $54,000 to kill her-with a bonus if he reclaimed custody of his children" (Floorwalker). However, due to testimony of the murderer, Blackthorne was convicted and sent to prison for the remainder of his life for her murder. John DuPont was a mentally ill man who had years of hallucinations. In 1997, he shot and murdered David Schultz. According to DuPont "... Schultz was part of a giant, international conspiracy to assassinate him" (Floorwalker). DuPont was convicted and sentenced to 13 to 30 years in prison. He served only 13 years before he died in prison in 2010. The circumstances around these cases prove that even with a big pocket book, sometimes, the guilty get convicted and serve the accurate sentences.

Money is a deterrent that ignorant people use to explain or justify their actions. All six cases showed examples of the countless flaws having money causes. Emotional and physical damages should not come with a price tag as well as a death should not be measure in months. The legal system in this country is ran by the upper class allowing continued injustices to occur against victims without provocation. Banking accounts and materialist items should not be a factor in deciding the actions for a crime. Evidence and testimony should mean something in this country. Allowing social class to run this country has caused the legal system to face a deprivation of moral decency. Wealthy individuals' life's are not worth more than the life of a middle or lower class family. The fact of the matter is, in an anatomy sense all individuals should be equal, all bleed red.



Works Cited
Bay Area News Group. "Brock Turner sexual assault case: Stanford victim's letter to attacker, judge." San Mateo County. The Mercury News, 3 Jun 2016. Web. 21 Aug 2016.

Conlon, Kevin and Stephanie Gallman. "Du Pont heir convicted of raping daughter spared prison." CNN. CNN, 2 Apr 2014. Web. 17 Aug 2016.
Floorwalker, Mike. "10 Millionaires Who Committed Murder." Listverse. Listverse, 10 Sept 2013. Web. 15 Aug 2016.
Greenwald, Glenn. "Too Big to Jail (Book Excerpt)." The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 25 Oct 2011. Web. 20 Aug 2016.
Herskovitz, Jon. "'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Gets Nearly 2 Years In Jail." The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 13 Apr 2016. Web. 20 Aug 2016.
Stack, Liam. "Light Sentence for Brock Turner in Stanford Rape Draws Outrage." The New York Times. The New York Times, 6 June 2016. Web. 27 July 2016.

Strauss, Gary. "No jail for 'affluenza' teen in fatal crash draws outrage." USA TODAY. USA TODAY, 6 Feb 2014. Web. 20 Aug 2016.
The Associated Press. "Wisconsin Billionaire Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault Charge." NBC NEWS. NBC, 6 Jun 2014. Web. 21 Aug 2016.
Weiss, Jay. "Affluenza: 10 Rich People Who Got Away With Horrible Crimes." FilthyRich.es. Filthy Rich, 15 Jan 2016. Web. 15 Aug 2016.

Hi SamSew2010
There are many suggestions for you. I hope it will develop your writing skill.

Take a moment and define a person's life's wealth
For most people, the working class people... ------> Most working people argue that wealth is defined as the gratitude of life that earned daily

If being wealthy wasn't already a perk, being the person that makes millionaires... ----> it is complex sentence, you can devide into 2 or 3 sentences

tyar32
  Closed ✓


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