Drunk driving victim wants doctor to open Couch psychology records

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Updated Friday, May 16 at 6:05 PM

A judge is considering whether to open up some of the psychological records from the Ethan Couch case. 

He’s the 16-year-old who received probation after killing four people in a drunk driving crash. Most injured victims and families of the dead have settled, but 13-year-old Lucas McConnell wants to hold Couch and his parents accountable in civil court.

Couch's defense was based on the testimony of psychologist Dr. Dick Miller. He used the term "affluenza" to describe the way Couch was allegedly raised with few restrictions or consequences. 

The family suing Couch's parents say Dr. Miller should have to turn over his notes and be deposed because he's already testified in open court. They add that he also gave interviews to News 8 and CNN's Anderson Cooper.

In December Dr. Miller told us, “This kid had medical problems. He had social anxiety disorder. He had all sorts of things. He had depression. He found alcohol was his medicine."

Attorneys for Fred and Tonya Couch say Miller's notes, testimony and deposition are all off limits because they're part of a juvenile court case. Juvenile court documents are considered confidential.

They also say Miller is covered by attorney/client privilege. But attorneys for Lucas McConnell say it's too late for that.

"Our position is that because this testimony was discussed in open court, this genie is out of the bottle and there's no way to get it back in," said attorney Todd Clement.

The judge will make a ruling later. He did block an attempt to depose Ethan himself, at least until he's out of treatment. Clement says Couch will eventually be deposed.

Watching all this in court Friday was Eric Boyles, who lost his wife Hollie and daughter Shelby to Ethan Couch's drunk driving crash.

 

"We're absolutely in support of what Lucas McConnell and his family are doing in terms of taking this a step further,” he said. “Supporting them all the way."

E-mail: jdouglas@wfaa.com

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