Judge in 'affluenza' case denies media plea for access in juvenile hearings

Judge Jean Boyd

Credit: WFAA

Tarrant County juvenile court Judge Jean Boyd has come under fire since sentencing 16-year-old Ethan Couch to 10 years' probation for a drunk driving crash that left four people dead.

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by STAFF REPORTS

WFAA

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

FORT WORTH -- State District Judge Jean Boyd has denied a request from attorneys representing local media to conduct a hearing on whether a juvenile court hearing should remain open to the public.

Attorneys for News 8 and other local media had filed a plea in intervention to ask that they be given a hearing in the event of any request to close future proceedings regarding Ethan Couch.

Couch, 16, was sentenced to 10 years probation by Boyd earlier this year after he admitted to driving drunk and causing a wreck that killed four people.

After a brief hearing with attorneys Tuesday, Boyd denied the request for the plea in intervention but did not say if she intended to close Couch’s next hearing, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Boyd, who received national publicity in December when she sentenced Couch, has barred the public from her courtroom twice in the past few weeks in a homicide case involving another teen.

In that case, Boyd closed a pre-trial certification hearing, saying media attention could potentially influence a jury. The following week, on Jan. 22, Boyd closed the hearing in which the accused teen, after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, was sentenced to 26 years behind bars.

The plea in intervention was filed in Boyd's court by the Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News, KDFW/Channel 4, KXAS/Channel 5, WFAA/Channel 8 and KTVT/Channel 11.

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