Ethan Couch Moved From Juvenile Center to Adult Jail

Couch housing change doesn't affect juvenile status, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson says

Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving crash, was moved Friday afternoon from a juvenile detention center to the Tarrant County Correction Center in Downtown Fort Worth.

Couch, 19, is currently being held for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, pending a hearing Feb. 19 to determine whether his case will be moved from juvenile court to adult court.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said during a news conference Friday afternoon that a juvenile court judge signed a revised order of detention that allowed for Couch's housing change.

Anderson said the sheriff's department was notified of the housing change once Couch was under way Friday afternoon and that he arrived at the downtown corrections center at about 1:30 p.m.

Couch is still under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and his case is still continuing under the original judge's order, Anderson said. The move to the adult jail doesn't change his juvenile standing.

A continuation hearing related to Friday's housing move will be held on Feb. 12, Anderson said.

Anderson added Couch is considered a high-profile inmate and is being held in a single cell, away from the general population, for his safety and not because he's considered a threat. Couch, Anderson said, has been soft-spoken, very respectful and has asked for no special treatment or accommodations.

Before the move Friday, Couch had been detained at the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center in North Fort Worth since he was extradited back to the U.S. last month. Couch had fled to Mexico, along with his mother Tonya Couch, after missing a meeting with his probation officer.

Authorities believe Couch and his mother fled Texas in her pickup truck after an online video appeared to show Ethan Couch at a party where people were drinking. Couch had been sentenced to 10 years' probation in juvenile court for the 2013 drunken-driving crash, and the terms prohibit him from drinking or leaving Tarrant County, Texas.

If Couch's case is transferred to the adult system and if he violates his probation again, he could face up to 10 years in prison for each person killed in the 2013 crash, a total of 40 years.

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