Judge Denies News Media Request in High-Profile Juvenile Case

Media wants right to argue for open hearing in controversial drunk-driving case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 5 and other media joined forces to fight to cover 16-year-old Ethan Couch's court case, but Tuesday Judge Jean Boyd denied a request by news media attorneys to be allowed to argue for access to future hearings in the "affluenza" case that's made national headlines. (Published Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014)

    A Tarrant County juvenile court judge on Tuesday denied a request by news media attorneys to be allowed to argue for access to future hearings in a controversial case involving a 16-year-old drunk driver.

    In rejecting the request, Judge Jean Boyd gave no explanation after a hearing that lasted only five or six minutes.

    The news media had asked to have the opportunity to argue that future hearings remain open in the case of Ethan Couch, who drove drunk and caused a crash that killed four people.

    Couch is expected in court for a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

    Boyd's sentence of 10 years' probation and therapy drew nationwide attention. She closed some records and hearings in the case following widespread criticism.

    Couch's attorney told the judge that such hearings involving juveniles should be held in private and that Texas law allows them to be closed.

    The attorneys for the news media represented NBC DFW, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and three other television stations.

    While trials and hearings are usually public, juvenile courts sometimes operate differently because of privacy concerns that apply to juveniles and not adults.