Friday, February 3, 2023

What is involuntary manslaughter? It’s Alec Baldwin Confronted in Charge of Deadly ‘Rust’ Shooting

(CNN) — Prosecutors on Thursday decided to charge actor Alec Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reid, with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Baldwin during the filming of Baldwin’s movie “Rust.” “, in 2021.

Halina Hutchins was killed by live ammunition fired from a prop gun in the hands of Baldwin, who says he did not pull the trigger. The actor has also said that he did not know that the gun he fired during rehearsals had a live bullet in it.

Here’s everything you need to know about those legal charges:

What is meant by ‘involuntary manslaughter’?

New Mexico state law classifies manslaughter as a fourth-degree felony.

According to New Mexico law, “Involuntary manslaughter includes murder committed in the commission of an illegal act which does not constitute a felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which results in death unlawfully or without due care and discretion.” could be the reason”.

This means the charges accuse Baldwin of “acting recklessly that resulted in the death of another person,” Sam Winder, a former federal prosecutor who currently teaches law at the University of New Mexico, told CNN. told.

“The major difference between manslaughter and manslaughter, which is often seen in cases involving firearms, is that there is no criminal intent in the former,” Winder said, referring to New Mexico state law. “Recklessly, it’s killing someone accidentally.”

“There is no argument that Baldwin had criminal intent to commit murder,” he said.

Alec Baldwin Is Accused &Quot;Involuntary Manslaughter&Quot; In Case Of Fatal Shooting On Film Set &Quot;War&Quot;

What is negligence?

CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams explains that prosecutors chose to charge Baldwin with murder in Hutchins’ death due to negligence.

Williams said, “I’m not at all surprised by these allegations, and especially if you separate actor Alec Baldwin from producer Alec Baldwin.” “But he is effectively being charged as the person responsible for what happened on set. And that charge of manslaughter is negligence.

Williams continued: “At least according to the prosecutor, this was not a simple accident on a movie set. It was actually a huge leadership problem on set, so big that it led to an incredibly tragic death.”

What does the prosecution have to prove to prove the charges?

Shortly after the murder charges were announced, New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweiss outlined why an on-set shooting could result in criminal charges, regardless of whether it was an accident or not.

Baldwin Jung Cargo

Baldwin during the filming of “Rust”

“Just because it’s an accident doesn’t mean it’s not a crime,” Carmack-Altives told CNN.

Carmack-Altweiss said, “Our homicide statute includes culpable homicide not amounting to murder.” “Intentionally means they didn’t mean to kill, they didn’t mean to kill, but it happened anyway, and it happened because of more than just negligence. They didn’t exercise due diligence or were not prudent, and that’s what happened here.”

Carmack-Altwies says prosecutors believed there was probable cause to charge Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid due to a number of factors, including a lack of safety standards.

According to Carmack-Altives, people on set had complained about the lack of security, and there had been some disturbances prior to the fatal incident.

Referring to Baldwin, he said, “I should have known that security on set was an issue and then as an actor that day I should have checked that gun, those projectiles.”

Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nicks, called prosecutors’ decision “a terrible judicial error”.

“This decision misrepresents the tragic death of Halina Hutchins and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe that there was a live bullet in the gun or anywhere on the set of the film.” Was,” Nicks said. “He trusted the professionals he worked with, who assured him that the weapon did not contain live bullets. We will fight these allegations and we will win.”

Why would the case be difficult for prosecutors?

CNN senior legal analyst Eli Honig says the fatal shooting of “Rust” is not clear negligence and involves issues of fact.

First, Honig says, Carmack-Altweiss told CNN he didn’t know, and “we may never know,” how the live bullet rounds got on set.

“This is an important factual question. Defense attorneys will stand before the jury and say, ‘They want you to convict my client and they can’t even tell you how those bullets got there,'” Honig said. told CNN.

Second, the incident happened on a movie set and “most normal people don’t know what the rules are on a movie set,” he said.

Therefore, the expertise of prop masters is relied upon to a large extent, but even those experts have different ideas of what the duties of actors and crew members are, Honig says.

“Remember, this is a criminal case. You need all 12 jurors to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So I’m not saying there’s no chance here, but for the prosecution it’s really I have a tough case.”

And who was the accused?

According to prosecutors, in addition to Baldwin, “Rust” gunsmith Gutierrez-Reid will be charged with two counts of murder in the death of Hutchins on the set of the film.

“We expected the allegations, but they are absolutely wrong about Hannah; We hope that the jury finds her not guilty and that she did not commit murder,” Gutierrez-Reid’s attorney, Jason Bowles, told CNN. “She is traumatized by the tragedy, but she committed no crime. “

In March 2022, Gutierrez-Reid said she was not called to inspect the gun, which ultimately fired a live shot, fatally wounding Hutchins. He also said that he had no knowledge of what was happening inside the church stage that day and that Baldwin was responsible for helping keep the team safe.

“Rust” assistant director David Halles, who gave Baldwin the gun before the fatal shooting, has signed a plea agreement “on one count of reckless use of a deadly weapon,” the district attorney’s office announced this Thursday. . Prosecutors say the terms of that deal include six months’ probation and a suspended sentence.

According to the statement, no charges will be filed against the film’s director Joel Souza.

This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch on Saturday, October 23, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What could be the punishment if found guilty?

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid each face two counts of murder, so a jury can decide which specific charge is more appropriate, according to the district attorney, who says that if convicted, “they will only a charge to be sentenced”.

Prosecutors say that in either case, such a conviction could carry up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, there may be additional mandatory penalties due to the fact that it was a firearm. In that case, the crime could carry a mandatory sentence of five years in prison, prosecutors said.

what happens now?

Carmack-Altwies told CNN that she would formally file charges “before the end of the month,” but that her office would not be requesting the arrest of Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reid. Both will be required to make an initial court appearance, which they can do by video. The district attorney says she does not plan to charge anyone else with the production.

CNN’s Josh Campbell, Paul Workman, Holly Yan and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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