Fred and Tonya Couch, whose son, Ethan, caused a 2013 Texas crash that killed four people, will not pay the full cost of Couch's court-ordered rehabilitation treatment.
Couch, who turned 17 on Friday, began treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in February. The state-owned, in-patient mental health facility's rehab costs $715 per day, but the court ordered Couch's parents to pay just $1,170 per month — less than two days' worth of treatment — based on a "sliding scale."
The case garnered nation-wide attention due largely to Couch's defense. Driving under the influence of alcohol and Valium, Couch veered off the road on June 15, smashing into a stalled SUV's driver and three other people at the scene. His attorneys argued the coddled teen suffered from "affluenza," and thus was not fully able to comprehend the repercussions of his reckless behavior. State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years of probation and an in-patient rehabilitation program.
"As a taxpayer, I probably feel exactly like you do," Greg Coontz, a civil attorney for relatives of one of the four killed, told the Star-Telegram. "It seems like maybe that ought to be a little different and should be addressed if there's the ability to pay. Most time, I don't know that there is. Clearly, sometimes that ability is there." Sarah Eberspacher
On Wednesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon put on a bald cap and wrinkled suit and tested out his Bernie Sanders impersonation. Fallon's Sanders, like the real Democratic presidential candidate, declared victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, but Fallon's version was a little more "get off of my lawn!" and a tad bit saltier than the real senator. "New Hampshirites showed the world that you're good, decent people, even though you live in towns that sound like 18th century porn stars," he said. "You have spoken, and your message is loud and clear: You want a candidate who looks like a Scooby-Doo villain before his mask is removed." It would be unfair to compare Fallon's impersonation to Larry David's, but it isn't half bad. Judge for yourself below. Peter Weber
On Wednesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert noted that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donald Trump were the big winners of Tuesday's presidential primaries in New Hampshire, then imagined a general-election debate between the two native New Yorkers. After a few back-and-forths between the two, impersonating each candidate, Colbert said that "at this point I can't tell if I'm doing Trump or Bernie. I can't tell. Honestly, the difference is not yuuge."
He then turned to Tuesday's losers, starting with Hillary Clinton. "She's not reaching young people, so she's trying a new tactic: disappointed mom," he said. And if you doubt the analogy, Colbert's spot-on "disappointed mom" spiel will put your doubts to rest. He spent a little time poking fun at Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio, but he went all-out at the end. After playing a clip of MSNBC's Chris Hayes accidentally calling Sanders "Bernie Sandwich," Colbert unleashed some elaborate, truly spectacular sandwich puns. Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert started off Wednesday's Late Show with an explanation of Ash Wednesday and a struggle over whether he could break the late-night rules by skipping the monologue and just running to his desk to discuss the New Hampshire primaries. The winner of the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, walked on to tell him he could, and to provide comic relief.
Later in the show, when Sanders sat down for his interview, Colbert asked him why he thinks he crushed Hillary Clinton among young voters. Sanders had two theories. First, he said, "by definition, young people are idealistic, and they look at a world with so many problems and they say 'Why not?'" In this case, the "why not?" refers to free college tuition and single-payer health care. "The second part that I think young people are thinking about is how does it happen that with all of this technology and productivity in our economy, they are likely to have a lower standard of living than their parents, while almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent?" Sanders said. Colbert noted that he is part of the 1 percent, and the rich aren't just giving their money away.
Then Colbert turned to the winner of the New Hampshire Republican primary. "Do you think that there's a similarity in appeal between you and Donald Trump?" he asked, noting that some polls showed that plenty of New Hampshire voters didn't decide until the last minute whether they were going to vote for Trump or Sanders.
"Well, I think a lot of Donald Trump supporters are angry," Sanders replied. "They're in many cases people who are working longer hours for low wages, they're people who are really worried about what's going to happen to their kids." But unlike his supporters, Sanders added, these voters have "responded to Trump's false message" of Latino-scapegoating and Islamophobia. "People have a right to be angry," he added, "but what we need to be is rational in figuring out how we address the problems, and not simply scapegoating minorities." Watch Sanders also bash Bill O'Reilly and try to explain how he would enact his agenda below. Peter Weber
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who famously got in an armed standoff after refusing to pay federal grazing fees, flew to Portland late Wednesday night, en route to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where his sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy had led an armed occupation until they were arrested last month. FBI agents were waiting for Cliven Bundy when he landed and arrested him; Bundy was booked into the Multhomah County jail before midnight on Wednesday, detained on a U.S. Marshal hold for his role in the 2014 armed confrontation with Bureau of Land Management agents at his Nevada Ranch.
Ammon Bundy's lawyer, Mike Arnold, said that the arrest of Cliven Bundy could complicate the planned surrender Thursday morning of the last four holdouts at the Malheur refuge. The elder Bundy owes the federal government $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and penalties, and when BLM agents impounded Bundy's cattle in 2014, he and armed militia members confronted the federal agents, who relented rather than shed blood. Peter Weber
Over the weekend, the Indian news media was abuzz over reports, picked up worldwide, that a bus driver at a college in southeast India had been killed Saturday by the impact from a meteorite, potentially making him the first known human killed by a meteorite. By Tuesday, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics was casting doubt on the claim. "Considering that there was no prediction of a meteorite shower and there was no meteorite shower observed, this certainly is a rare phenomena if it is a meteorite," Prof. G.C. Anupama told The New York Times in a phone interview.
On Wednesday, NASA all but slammed the door on the meteorite-death theory, saying in a statement that from public statements and photographs of the crash, it appears that the driver was killed by a "land-based explosion," not the impact of a space rock. Although no confirmed deaths have resulted from chunks of meteors falling to Earth, several people have been injured by meteorites, including some 1,200 when a space rock crashed into Chelyabinsk, Russia; no fatalities were reported. You can learn more about the near-record in the CNN video below. Peter Weber
The prime minister of the United Arab Emirates says "national happiness isn't a wish," and in order to make good on his promise, he's appointed a minister of state for happiness.
Ohood Al Roumi as Minister of State for Happiness. She remains responsible as DG of the Prime Minister’s Office. pic.twitter.com/1Omrzc9b8F
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) February 10, 2016
On Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced his new cabinet, which includes five women. Ohood Al Roumi, the director general of the prime minister's office and former head of economic policy for Dubai, will keep her current job but also take on the role of minister of state for happiness. In this new position, she'll be tasked with aligning and driving "government policy to create social good and satisfaction," NBC News reports.
The prime minister is making it clear that this role is not just ceremonial. "Happiness in the UAE is not just a hope, there will be plans, projects, programs, and indicators," he said. Happiness will become "part of our lifestyle," he added, and to get the people motivated, he wrote a poem titled "Happiest Nation" and posted it to his website. Catherine Garcia
Under a plea deal, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty to a federal charge of lying to investigators, and will spend no more than six months in prison, if he serves any time at all.
In 2010, a grand jury began an investigation into corruption and abuse at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, and since then, the U.S. Attorney's Office has charged 18 former and current deputies with such crimes as obstructing justice, beating inmates, bribery, and conspiracy, NBC Los Angeles reports. Baca previously claimed he had no knowledge of abuse at any county jails, deputies intimidating an FBI agent outside of her home, or a coordinated effort by deputies to keep an FBI informant from testifying to a grand jury; NBC Los Angeles reports that for two weeks in 2011, deputies moved the informant around to different jails using a false name every time so the FBI couldn't find the informant and have him or her testify.
Baca, who stepped down in 2014 after more than 15 years as sheriff, is the 18th former member of the department convicted in the case, and he will be sentenced on May 16. Prosecutors have been going up the ranks in the department, and in May 2015, former undersheriff Paul Tanaka was charged with obstructing justice. He is now facing trial. "No one is above the law," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said Wednesday. "This is a fundamental principle in our society and when it is violated it's the job of the Department of Justice to step in and hold individuals accountable." Catherine Garcia