The burning question on everyone’s mind is whether Alec Baldwin will be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The jury instructions define negligence as whether one acts so different from the way that an ordinary careful person would act in the same situation.
Applying that to Baldwin, would a reasonable person standing in Baldwin’s shoes have acted any different than Baldwin prior to firing the weapon?
Baldwin would argue that a reasonable person would rely on the expertise of the prop manager to make sure that the weapon did not have live rounds in it.
The prosecutor would counter that Baldwin had notice of unsafe conditions because hours prior to the incident, reports of unsafe conditions were made to him. Therefore, he had an elevated duty to inspect the gun prior to shooting it.
Baldwin would respond that the complaints being lodged about working conditions did not logically extend to fundamental gun safety protocols, which solely were the responsibility of the prop manager. In other words, this tragic accident would have happened regardless of the staff complaints being addressed.
It’s important to keep in mind that the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin acted unreasonably and that his irresponsible actions resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins.
The fact that Baldwin can deflect responsibility to the prop manager would make it very difficult for a prosecutor to convict him.
Even if Baldwin is not prosecuted, he still has to live with guilt of pulling the trigger. His life and the lives of the Hutchins are forever changed. And there is no true legal remedy for that.