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crimesider

Affluenza teen to remain in juvenile detention center

Last Updated Jan 29, 2016 12:19 PM EST

Dallas, Texas -- In a Texas courtroom on Friday to face his first hearing since being deported from Mexico, a Texas judge decided to keep "affluenza" teenager Ethan Couch at the juvenile facility where he was taken after arriving back in Texas on Thursday.

Ethan Couch, 18, was booked into the juvenile detention facility after he was deported from Mexico on Thursday. Authorities believe he and his mother fled the country as Texas prosecutors investigated whether he may have violated his probation in the 2013 wreck that killed four people.

Judge Timothy Menikos sided with Couch's attorneys during a court hearing in Fort Worth, saying the 18-year-old Couch could stay at the juvenile center. Prosecutors wanted Couch moved to an adult jail ahead of a hearing next month that will determine whether the case is transferred to the adult system, where Couch could face time behind bars.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Thursday that he supports moving Couch to an adult jail, given the severity of his offenses. Couch was 16 at the time of the fatal accident.

During the sentencing phase of the 2013 trial, a defense witness argued Couch had been coddled into a sense of irresponsibility by his wealthy parents. The expert deemed the condition "affluenza," which isn't recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.

The teen was later sentenced to 10 years' probation.

In December, Couch and his mother disappeared after an online video appeared to show Couch at a party where people were drinking. They were apprehended in Mexico on Dec. 28 after a call for pizza delivery tipped off authorities.

Couch initially fought deportation but dropped the fight this week. His mother, Tonya Couch, was deported last month and is charged in Texas with hindering the apprehension of a felon. She was released on bond this month after being fitted with an electronic ankle GPS monitor.

If Ethan Couch's case had been moved to adult court, the judge could have ordered Couch to spend up to 120 days in jail for violating his probation and then finish the remainder of his 10-year probation sentence, according to Tarrant County District Attorney spokeswoman Samantha Jordan. If his case had been moved to adult court, and he violated his probation again, he could have gotten up to 10 years in prison for each of the four people killed in the drunken-driving wreck.

If his case remains in juvenile court, he could be held in a juvenile detention center for violating his probation until he turns 19 in April, at which point he would become eligible for parole.