Actor Alec Baldwin isn’t set to have a great 2023. After all, he’s facing manslaughter charges over the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust. Even if he can beat the charge, it’s going to take a lot of time and money to do so.
If there’s any good news for the actor, it’s that he won’t be facing a five-year sentencing enhancement over the use of a firearm.
The prosecution in the case of a fatal New Mexico film-set shooting made a stark turnaround Monday, dropping the possibility of a mandatory five-year sentence against Alec Baldwin, new court filings show.
The actor-producer’s attorneys had earlier objected to the enhancement, saying it was unconstitutional because it was added after the October 2021 shooting. Legal experts had said Baldwin had a strong chance of seeing it tossed out.
“The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statue that did not exist on the date of the accident,” Baldwin’s attorneys said in an earlier court filing.
Baldwin’s attorney declined to comment Monday after the reversal by prosecutors, who earlier criticized his efforts to have the sentencing requirement dropped. The related standard for the possibility of a mandatory five years would be reckless disregard of safety “without due caution and circumspection” and carried a higher threshold of wrongdoing.
In all honestly, this was the right call anyway.
Sentencing enhancements are total bovine excrement in the first place, predicated on the idea that an act of violence is somehow worse because a gun was used rather than any other weapon.
Further, Baldwin isn’t charged with willfully killing Hutchins. It was reckless disregard that resulted in the shooting (allegedly), not a willful act of violence. It would seem to me that an enhancement wouldn’t make sense in such a case except as a way to dish on additional punishment.
Oh, then there’s the whole thing about it not existing when the shooting happened.
Regardless, Baldwin is catching a bit of a break on this one, but I suspect this might be his last break for a little while. The prosecution is bound and determined to make Baldwin pay for this and, frankly, someone needs to.
And whether Baldwin likes it or not, the truth is that many people believe celebrities get a pass when the rest of us would get no such thing. As such, a lot of prosecutors are going to be tougher on them so as to not be accused of favoritism.
Which means that Baldwin isn’t going to just get off on this with a slap on the wrist. He might win with a jury, but that’s about the only way I see him getting out of this.
No, he’s going to have to fight this one out. Either that or just plead guilty and call it a day. We all know that one isn’t going to happen.
But as for the sentencing enhancement, I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s ultimately the right call for this case.