According to New York Daily News, 'Affluenza Teen' Ethan Couch has hired prominent Mexican attorney Fernando Benitez. Attorney Benitez was the third and final lawyer hired by former Sgt. Tahmooressi's mother more than two months after he was arrested by Mexican authorities after attempting to enter the country with three guns and more than 400 rounds of ammunition. Tahmooressi was released after seven months in custody on unprecedented humanitarian grounds on October 31 2014.
Ethan Couch shot to notoriety in 2013 after lethally crashing into four pedestrians while drinking and driving. In addition to the four deaths, a passenger in his car is now brain damaged for life as a result of being thrown from the vehicle. His defense counsel at the time argued that he was too spoiled to understand the severity of his crimes. The strategy was labeled the 'affluenza' defense at the time, with Couch earning the title of 'Affluenza Teen'. The teen missed a mandatory probation appointment on December 10, 2015 in Texas, and was subsequently arrested two weeks later in Puerto Vallarta along with his mother after reportedly using a phone to order pizza in a condominium complex in the resort city.
His mother, Tonya Couch, has since been extradited back to Texas where she is now facing felony charges for hindering apprehension of a felon. Ethan Couch remains in detention in Mexico City after his extradition was blocked by an appeal filed by Benitez. The District Attorney in charge of the probation violation case in the U.S. has said she plans to ask a judge to transfer the case to adult court, where Couch could get up to 120 days in an adult jail, followed by 10 years of probation. If he violates probation again, he could face up to 10 years in prison per death, Wilson said.
Now, thanks to a successful stay filed by Attorney Benitez, extradition of Couch could be months away.
U.S. authorities claim that Couch and his mother entered Mexico illegally and should be returned, but Benitez argues that extradion would violate his rights. "He hasn't committed a crime in Mexico," Benitez told WFAA. "Why would Mexico go along with this idea of locating someone and summarily kicking them out of the country so the marshals can grab him across the border? I don't think that's OK."
Attorney Benitez also gained notoriety for representing former Tijuana Mayor Hank Rhon after his home was raided in June 2011 by around 100 Mexican soldiers raided, reportedly seizing 88 firearms, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Despite the fact that the weapons were for the most part not legally owned, and at least two were reportedly linked to homicides by ballistic evidence, a Federal Judge ruled that the raid was performed without a warrant and, therefore, all evidence was inadmissible and the case against Hank Rhon was thrown out.