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LOS ANGELES – The mother of a fugitive 18-year-old known for using an "affluenza" defense in a drunken-driving case was expected to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom for an extradition hearing on Tuesday.
Prosecutors were expected to ask that Tonya Couch, 38, be extradited to Texas. Couch was deported from Mexico and flown to Los Angeles early Thursday morning.
Tonya Couch and her 18-year-old son, Ethan, were taken into custody last week in Mexico, where authorities believe the pair fled in November as Texas prosecutors investigated whether he had violated his probation.
Ethan Couch was being held at a detention facility in Mexico City after winning a court reprieve that could lead to a weeks- or even months-long legal process in Mexico, a Mexican immigration official told The Associated Press on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he or she was not authorized to be quoted by name.
In Texas, prosecutors charged Tonya Couch with hindering apprehension of a felon. Her bond there was set at $1 million.
Her attorneys released a statement saying she had done nothing illegal and wanted to get back to Texas as soon as possible.
"While the public may not like what she did, may not agree with what she did, or may have strong feelings against what she did, make no mistake — Tonya did not violate any law of the State of Texas and she is eager to have her day in court," lawyers Stephanie K. Patten and Steve Gordon said in the statement.
Ethan Couch was driving drunk and speeding near Fort Worth in June 2013 when he crashed into a disabled SUV, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in his pickup truck. He was sentenced to probation.
During the sentencing phase of his trial, a defense expert argued that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed "affluenza." The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation during the legal proceedings drew ridicule.