Getting sick can make you feel better

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

A lifetime of luxury could be a legal defense for serious crimes committed by the spoiled rich who claim they didn’t know better.

At least that’s the argument now advanced by attorneys for Texas teen Ethan Couch who was driving drunk when he caused a crash that left four people dead in June.

Simply put, the defense calls Couch’s condition “affluenza,” a condition stemming from having wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for him.

You may be laughing but legal and mental health professionals are not.  Neither should the rest of us.  This legal theory could be good news for the low-income and working class.

If personal wealth exculpates serious crimes then I see no reason why personal poverty shouldn’t be an available defense against say, parking tickets or late-payment charges by credit card companies.

Chronically late on your house payment? Offer up “workingclassingitis” or perhaps “debt malignancy.” It’ll keep the mortgage company busy for months searching the latest medical research.

Traffic ticket? “Tapped Out Disorder” might explain your personal disregard for speed limits.  If the police officer asks questions, explain that TOS is a rare form of “cashanemia” for which there is no known treatment.  Then cough a lot and grab your abdomen.

“Income Dystrophy” might work for bank overdraft penalties, assuming you can have a written diagnosis from a licensed psychiatric professional or a Texas defense attorney.

Your auto insurance company threatening to cancel coverage for nonpayment of premium?  A defense of “direstraitsophy” or “cardioinsolvency” should buy you a few extra months.  For failure to pay income taxes, however, the IRS may require documentation of a more grave disorder.  “Chapter 11 Syndrome” sounds pretty serious, if not fatal.

The report from Texas renews my faith in our legal system as a protector of the weak and an endless source of humorous reading material.  I’d feel better, however, if I came down with a nasty case of  “CashFlow Tremens.”  It could cut my car payment in half.

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