Will Alec Baldwin be Prosecuted for Involuntary Manslaughter?

Alec Baldwin
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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.


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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.


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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.


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Louis J. Shapiro

Louis J. Shapiro, a former L.A. County Public Defender, is a criminal defense attorney and state bar certified criminal law specialist out of Century City. He is also a TV & radio legal commentator and is occasionally on FB. He can be reached at [email protected].

Comments 4

  1. david poole says:

    The comment regarding no liability for negligence if you rely on a brake shop to fix your brakes and then you go out and kill someone with you car, fails to add the additional condition that you RECKLESSLY and NEGLIGENTLY drove your car towards someone assuming the brakes would stop you. You never accelerate your car towards someone and assume you can stop before hitting them. That’s reckless and negligent endangerment!!! Same situation with Baldwin. You NEVER point a gun a someone and PULL the trigger. NEVER!! Even if you ASSUME the gun is unloaded. You recklessly tempt fate by doing so!

  2. Kandice says:

    There are safety protocols and procedures in place within the film industry that were not followed by Baldwin. A “reasonable person in his shoes” would be aware of prop-gun safety protocols that are to be used on set. The armorer did no directly hand Baldwin the weapon. No one should handle a weapon without an armorer present. He broke protocol. The actor needs to witness the chamber check. Baldwin did not witness the chamber check. The gun should not be pointed ANYONE. Nothing should be cocked until everyone on set is in cover. It doesn’t matter if Hutchins asked to have the gun pointed in her direction. Everyone present disregarded set safety. Prop guns are to be treated like live guns, and blank rounds are to be treated like live rounds. Even if he was UNDER THE IMPRESSION IT WAS A PROP (he wasn’t.) Following basic set procured would have prevented the tragedy. All of these things were established because blanks from props on sets HAVE KILLED PEOPLE BEFORE. He and the DA KNOWINGLY disregarded set safety and gun protocols that are INDUSTRY STANDARD. As the actor holding the gun, Baldwin is responsible. He is even MORE responsible as a producer. He hired non-Union workers. He had safety concerns on his set and gun incidents on his set. Producers combined the armorer/prop job into 1. If there was any confusion about the gun, that was due to the PRODUCER’S decision. He was the “boss” that called to move forward with rehearsing the scene without the armorer present. As the producer on set, Alec Baldwin is responsible. He has ZERO reasonable deniability in this scenario. A significant amount of negligence had to occur for this accident to happen. It started with the producers (Baldwin being one) and ended with the man who pulled the trigger (also Baldwin). Had he adhered to ANY to any of the fail safes (from hiring the proper people to checking the chamber- TO SIMPLY NOT POINTING THE GUN AT SOMEONE) She would still be alive today. Frankly, everyone arguing he’s not responsible should feel embarrassed. It is outrageous this moron hasn’t been arrested yet.

  3. M.Cain says:

    Gerald, you could certainly try to argue negligence, but are actors considered, by nature, responsible and expert gun handlers? Moreover, is it reasonable to expect those who primarily act to have gone through extensive firearm safety training when using dummy props, especially when there is someone specifically designated as the “on-scene weapons expert and handler?” I would argue had there been no person/position/expert paid to shoulder the responsibility of on-set weapon safety, particularly with regard to guns, you may have something. That said, if you take your vehicle to have the brakes fixed, leave the shop expecting them to be sound (it is, after all, their primary job) and on the ride home they fail and you kill someone, are you still negligent? No, and neither is Mr. Baldwin, for the EXACT same reason.

  4. Rhenne Leon says:

    I hope Baldwin is prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter. He is a person that has been screaming for gun control by the Government and he fires a gun (loaded or unloaded) on the set of his movie. As a member of the NRA, a citizen of the U.S. and a protector of the Constitution with an open carry license – you KNOW that you should never point a gun until it is thoroughly checked.

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