As criminal defense lawyers, we’ve all been there. A client with little to no defense while facing serious charges. You reach back into the file, re-read the entire record, and hope something will jump out at you in hopes of something to help your client. I am sure a similar scenario played out for the criminal defense lawyer representing Ethan Couch in Texas several years ago. On June 15, 2013, Couch, 16 years old at the time, was partying and drinking with his teenage friends in Burleston, Texas. He and his friends then decided to leave the house, and Couch opted to drive them in his parents’ pick-up truck to another location across town. Couch was intoxicated and, with about 6 of his friends in the pick-up truck, began speeding on a narrow two lane road. He weaved off the road, and stuck several park cars and plowed into four pedestrians on the sidewalk. All four of the pedestrians were killed and many others seriously injured.
On September 2015, prosecutors in Monroe County, Pennsylvania released the gruesome details of a college hazing of a Baruch college student. The release of the grand jury transcript reveals a pledge member, Chun Hsien Deng, of the Baruch’s Delta Psi chapter, an Asian American cultural fraternity, was made to wear a blindfold and a 30 pound backpack along with other would-be fraternity members during a pledging in Pennsylvania. Deng, along with other pledge members, were then forced to run “the Gauntlet,” wherein members of the fraternity would form two lines and have the new pledges run down it while being struck by members on both sides. Deng reportedly received the severest of beatings and suffered blunt trauma injuries as the pledging escalated. He ultimately died of those injuries. Fraternity members then attempted to hide and destroy evidence. Five Baruch college students now face murder charges.