The recent involuntary manslaughter charges filed against actor Alec Baldwin and production assistant Hannah Gutierrez-Reed for their alleged roles in the deadly shooting on the set of “Rust” have been met with a great deal of public interest. The incident, which occurred during Baldwin’s rehearsal with a gun that had been loaded with live ammunition instead of blanks, resulted in the tragic death of an extra named Hutchins. In order to convict someone for this charge, prosecutors must prove that the defendants acted either recklessly or criminally negligently.
In examining these charges, Peter A. Joy, professor of law at Washington University in St Louis who specializes in the nuance of the U.S. legal system, breaks down what type of behavior constitutes reckless or criminally negligent action that could potentially lead to a guilty verdict. According to Joy, criminal negligence occurs when there is an “egregious lack of care” resulting from ignoring safety protocols or other standard practices related to preventing harm from occurring. Recklessness, on the other hand, is defined as acting with “a conscious disregard for an obvious risk” such as failing to take precautions even though there were known hazards involved.
In this particular case regarding Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s alleged involvement in the shooting incident on the set of “Rust”, jurors will have to decide whether Baldwin could reasonably rely on Gutierrez-Reed to do her job and ensure safety protocols were followed; additionally, they will also have to decide if he acted recklessly by not checking the gun himself before pointing it at Hutchins. And while it is impossible to truly know what happened without being present on set during rehearsals that day, all parties involved are deserving due process under our legal system as well as justice for everyone affected by this tragedy – including both Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed themselves should they be found guilty at trial.
Ultimately, whatever decision is reached by judicial officials regarding this matter will heavily rely upon facts presented by prosecutors as well as any additional evidence offered up during trial – leaving many unanswered questions about whether justice will ultimately prevail for those impacted by this eventful day on set.