Let’s burn another post on the Baldwin Rust shooting and get some legal opinions. We will start with a quote of New Mexico’s manslaughter law:

Involuntary manslaughter consists of manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.

There was a death, and I think that we can all agree that SOMEONE didn’t show due caution and circumspection, or else a woman would not have been killed by a supposedly unloaded gun. In a case like this, one or more people could have contributed to the incident.

Erlinda Johnson, a practicing New Mexico criminal attorney and former state and federal prosecutor said that Baldwin could face possible criminal liability for involuntary manslaughter. “All the state needs to demonstrate is that he was engaged in a lawful, but dangerous act and did not act with due caution,” she said. 

She speculated that Baldwin may rely on the defense that someone handed him the gun, “but then, well it was incumbent upon him, since he was handling the gun, to make sure there were no rounds.”

Johnson continued: “Clearly someone didn’t do their due diligence. They should have been checking those guns to make sure there were no live rounds.”

So the key question is not one of law, but of fact. That is, did Baldwin, as the one holding, pointing, and shooting the gun, have a responsibility to check to ensure that the gun was not loaded before he pointed it at another human being and pulled the trigger? Or was it sufficient that he relied on someone else to check the weapon for him?

As we have demonstrated in the blogging world, opinions are split on that.

In the American legal system, the jury is the primary finder of fact. That is what a jury is for. Put the case in front of a jury and let them decide whether or not Baldwin was criminally negligent. The proper place to try this is not in the court of public opinion, or on various blogs. The place to try this is in court.

In either case, Baldwin and the movie’s production company will still face civil liability. There will still be a lawsuit. From another article:

“There’s no explanation where you have this happen on a set where there’s not civil negligence,” said attorney Jeff Harris

The only people who win in this case will be the attorneys. The biggest issue that I have here with all of this is that we all know that, as an ‘A’ list celebrity, Alec Baldwin will get special treatment and will not get nearly as many repercussions from this as one of us would.

That really burns my ass.

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JaimeInTexas · October 24, 2021 at 2:25 pm

I also have read Aesop’s.
A large section of the population do not care about the rule of law and engages power politics. Alec Baldwin belongs to that group. Let him face the criminal justice system that he so gladly wants to put others through, deservedly or not.
I do not think that Alec will change his behavior or tongue wagging in the long term.

    Big Ruckus D · October 24, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    Pretty much my thoughts. I want to see his ass kicked in, legally speaking. Not only because I maintain he SHOULD have (a share of) the responsibility in this matter, but because he deserves it for being a sanctimonious prick who would gladly destroy someone like me for political expedience. Well, for a fuckface like baldwin that hatred is returned in spades. He’s spent years shooting his mouth and advocating for ruinous poltics and policy that makes my life more difficult and expensive. I’ve no shame in clearly stating I’ll use any opportinity for retribution against an asshole who is always working against me, my beliefs and what is good for my existence. Am I pissng on the rule of law by taking that attitude? Probably, but tough titty. Prigs like baldwin have rigged the game through activism and advocacy of bad policy so that pissants like me are playing from a disadvantaged position (in a general sense). Thus, if I can get a few bonus points at his expense, you can bet your ass I’ll take them.

    And that’s what this is really about, ultimately. Scadenfreud writ large. I want this guy to suffer exactly as he’d want an unassuming, blue collar guy like me to suffer, as he hates what I stand for (and logically, by extension, me). He intends to see to it that someone like me is disposessed of his culture, country and possessions via policy and social engineering as a penalty for being “the other” who will never agree with his screwed up worldview.

    So – and I find myself saying this a lot these days – fuck that guy. Anything that distracts or otherwise occupies his time having to do battle against someone or something other than me and mine is a win in my book. If it gets him to STFU about his perverted politics and damages his reputation and financial standing, that’s a nice bonus.

    This is the type of mindset people like him inculcate when they never cease their smarmy incitement and posturing. Yes, my hatred of him and all those who think like him is a precursor to the violent stage of conflict that will eventually manifest when the verbal antagonism and chest poking stage of societal breakdown gives way and tempers finally have to flare off in physical reality rather than within the confines of the mind.

    In the meantime I’ll quite enjoy watching that sumbitch squirm.

      EN2 SS · October 24, 2021 at 8:31 pm


    EN2 SS · October 24, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Skunks can’t change their stripe.

21stCenturyCassandra · October 24, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Shhh! Nobody tell Aesop! He’s all out of butthurt cream!

Jonathan · October 24, 2021 at 9:13 pm

Don’t forget that this is is New Mexico, not California… Their laws are not set up to give the movie industry a pass the way CAs is. I hope that means we have less whitewashing and escaping from blame than would happen in CA… Time will tell what happens.

pkoning · October 25, 2021 at 1:47 pm

You mention the distinction between questions of law and of fact, and the rule that (in modern practice anyway) the jury deals with the latter but not the former. (That wasn’t true in the past, see Lysander Spooner’s “An essay on the Trial by Jury” and Neil Smith’s writings on the history of the jury going back 1000 years.)
Then you say “So the key question is not one of law, but of fact. That is, did Baldwin, as the one holding, pointing, and shooting the gun, have a responsibility to check to ensure that the gun was not loaded before he pointed it at another human being and pulled the trigger? Or was it sufficient that he relied on someone else to check the weapon for him?”
I agree that is a question, but it feels like a question of law. Does the law place that responsibility in the shooter, or does it permit avoiding responsibility by shifting the blame elsewhere? If it does, what precisely are the rules set by the law?
Once you have that, then the jury gets a question of fact: “given what the law says about responsibility in this situation, who is the responsible party?”

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