The case of Tonya Couch, the mother of “affluenza” teen, Ethan Couch has caught the fascination of the nation and with her recent release from jail on Tuesday January 12th, 2016, both the media and the general public continue to be caught up in the court of public opinion.
Release from Jail after Bail Bond was Reduced
The release of Tonya Couch comes one day after Tarrant County Judge Wayne Salvant agreed to lower her bond from the original posting of $1 million to $75,000. Still considered a flight risk, Judge Salvant also issued that she wear an electronic ankle monitor as part of her bond agreement.
Bail Bond Conditions
Texan authorities have accused Tonya Couch of aiding her son in leaving the country in order to avoid a probation hearing that could potentially lead to jail time. According to an arrest affidavit, Tonya Couch withdrew $30,000 from an account before fleeing with her son to Mexico and allegedly telling her husband that he would never see her or their son again. In December 2015, she was formally charged by Texan prosecutors with hindering the apprehension of a felon after she and her son were detained by Mexican authorities in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta during an extensive FBI manhunt.
Along with the lowered bond and the electronic ankle monitor, Judge Wayne Salvant issued several other bond conditions including:
• Report to legal authorities on a weekly basis
• Reside in Tarrant County under the supervision of her 29 year old son and his family
• Abstain from using controlled substances or alcohol
• Undergo mandatory drug testing
• Be placed under 24-hour home confinement excluding Doctor and Lawyer visits
• Not to possess or transport any firearms or weapons
• Pay a monthly supervision fee or $60.00
• Avoid “bad actors”
Because of the sensitive nature of the case, Judge Wayne Salvant issued a gag order essentially forbidding any lawyers involved in the case from communicating with the media. Tarrant County Magistrate Judge Matt King previously added to speculation surrounding the case when he ordered Tonya Couch to undergo a mental exam after the court found an issue of “reasonable cause” to suggest that she suffers from a “mental illness” or is a “person with a mental retardation”. Judge Kings’ order was issued the previous Friday and must be completed within a 30 day time frame. The exam will offer a determination as to whether there is sufficient clinical evidence to support an argument that Tonya Couch may be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
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