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California Bill Would Ban so-called "Affluenza" Court Defense

Max Pringle / CPRN

Max Pringle / CPRN

In a case that sparked outrage, a defense psychologist last year convinced a Texas judge that a teenage drunk driver, who killed four people, should get probation instead of prison time because he had an overly indulgent upbringing.

Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto says his bill would even the playing field for sentencing in cases like this.

“The wealthy will always be able to afford better lawyers,” says Gatto. “But there are certain things we can change. The laws can be made to knock out some of these defenses that are a little hard for us to believe.”

If the bill passes, it would make California the first state to ban the so-called “affluenza” court defense.

The Assembly Rules Committee has passed the bill on to the Public Safety Committee. 

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Max Pringle

State Government Reporter

Max covers the state capital, bringing more than a decade of experience in print and public radio, including reporting for KPFA, KQED and KALW. He traces his news roots to working on his his high school newspaper.   Read Full Bio