Craig Watkins: Josh Brent's Light Sentence Due to "Affluenza," Friendly, Majority-Minority Jury

Categories: Crime

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There are some obvious parallels between Ethan Couch and Josh Brent. Both got drunk and caused fatal car wrecks. Both had the means to hire talented private attorneys. Both were given offensively light sentences that sparked outrage.

To most observers, that's where the similarities end. Couch is white, Brent black. Couch is still legally a kid; Brent's a grown man. The mother of Brent's victim has forgiven him. The families of Couch's victims (there were four) have not.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, though, thinks the fates of the privileged Tarrant County teen and the former Dallas Cowboy are more closely connected than they might appear. In an interview with K104, reported by WFAA's Carla Wade, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins blamed Couch's "affluenza" case for Brent's light sentence.

"The reason I firmly believe that the affluenza case influenced people, we're in the MLK parade and people are yelling, 'Hey free Josh Brent!' And 'Man, give him probation," he told the radio station. "That other guy killed four people.'"

See also: Keller Teen Gets Probation for Drunken Wreck that Killed 4, Pissing Off Just About Everyone

The jury was receptive to such arguments, Watkins says, because of its racial makeup: five black, three Hispanic, four white.

"Race still plays a factor," Watkins said. "Now that we have individuals that are of color and have the opportunity to serve on juries and decide a person's guilt or innocence, now we are seeing the opposite effect. And so the past, basically, is dictating the future."

He promises to "continue to fight and make sure that the system is fair for everyone and until that happens, then we will have verdicts like O.J. Simpson and like Josh Brent."

Yep. Watkins is playing the O.J. card, which ranks only slightly above Hitler allusions in the universe of legitimate legal arguments.

See also: Ethan Couch Should Have Gone to Prison, but Justice? There's No Justice for Texas Kids.

The main problem with that line of argument, as former Dallas County prosecutor Toby Shook/Watkins nemesis points out to Wade, is that Brent was convicted. Also: O.J. Simpson? Really?

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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8 comments
Catbird
Catbird

As I understand the facts, Couch was a minor, (16 years old) when he did his crime and it was his first offence. Brent was an adult with similar offences on his record.


Unless I'm missing something, there  doesn't seem to be a racial connection between the two.


Both of them seem to have gotten off with very light sentences.     

Tom434
Tom434

I think the two most important factors were the testimony of Brown's mother and that he could afford a really good attorney

bagsmontana
bagsmontana

Craig Watkins once again proving what a buffoon he is.  OJ wasn't convicted.  Plus, maybe the jury weighed in (A) the outpouring of support from Jerry Brown's mother and (B) Brown's decision to get in the car with Brent (don't get me wrong, he's still a victim). 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

"So yeah, you know, OJ, uh, Casey Anthony, and... does that guy across the street look like a fed to you?"

Threeboys
Threeboys

"Race still plays a factor," Watkins said. "Now that we have individuals that are of color and have the opportunity to serve on juries and decide a person's guilt or innocence, now we are seeing the opposite effect. And so the past, basically, is dictating the future."


So is he's implying that because the jury was predominantly one of color, they were lighter on Brent.


By that line of thinking, would the sentence been heavier if he were white?

2DollaHolla
2DollaHolla

we're in the MLK parade and people are yelling, 'Hey free Josh Brent!' And 'Man, give him probation,"

Each person yelling that deserves to be in a higher tax rate & cut off wellfare & SNAP programs then for the remainder of their life.....

bagsmontana
bagsmontana

@Tom434 Hey!  No fair.  The race card can't be played if you apply logic to it.

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