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December 07, 2021

Alec Baldwin Shows Infamous Hot Temper, Chases Questioner Even As DA Is Considering Charging Him In Shooting Death of Cinematographer
Plus: Alec Baldwin -- Murderer?

This is a man full of range and impulse.

After that video, a video of Viva Frei discussing why he thinks that Alec Baldwin probably deliberately fired the gun in a rage.

No, he didn't know there was a bullet in it (we assume). But this is a man we have repeatedly seen provoked into rage over trifles. And here he was, being ordered about by a female cinematographer, rather than a male director (and it's always directors who give orders to actors, not cinematographers).

To make his point, Viva Frei takes us through a quick recap of Baldwin's well-known rage and impulse control issues, from "selfish rotten little pig" to molesting papparazzi.

His logic makes sense: Baldwin was, as usual, in a mad rage over nothing, and forgot himself, and forgot all of his gun safety training, and angrily pointed the gun at the cinematographer and angrily pulled the trigger.

This accords with the first reports from the set which said that Baldwin did exactly that: That he said, angrily, "You want it like that?!" as he pulled the trigger.

Note this wouldn't make it murder, as he wouldn't have intended to shoot and kill the woman, as he wouldn't have known the gun was loaded with a bullet. (Although see below.)

It would start to put him on the hook for something like criminally negligent homicide.

Andrew "Law of Self Defense" Branca was impressed by Viva Frei's argument and carried it further, wondering if, were it true that Baldwin had angrily pulled the trigger of a gun while aiming it at a human being, he could/would be charged with actual murder.

Or felony murder, to be precise. Branca wonders if Baldwin's hypothetical angry, deliberate snapping of the gun at Helenya Hutchins could be construed as a battery, which is a felony. A predicate felony for applying the felony murder rule, which says that if a death then occurs in the commission of any predicate felony (such as battery), the person committing that felony may be charged with murder, whether he intended to commit murder or not.

Under New Mexico law, an unlawful intentional touching or application of force done in an angry manner qualifies as a simple battery (s. 30-3-4. Battery). Of course, we're presuming that Baldwin never intended to actually apply force to Hutchins.

Nevertheless, merely putting someone in fear of an imminent battery is itself a crime. Under New Mexico law, menacing conduct which causes another person to reasonably believe that he is in danger of receiving an immediate battery qualifies as misdemeanor simple assault (. 30-3-1. Assault).

Further, a gun, a deadly weapon, was used here, and unlawfully assaulting someone with a deadly weapon meaning putting them in fear of imminent harm from the gun, escalates the criminal offense to felony aggravated assault (s. 30-3-2. Aggravated assault).

And, finally, under New Mexico law the killing of one human being by another without lawful justification in the commission of any felony qualifies as felony murder, a murder in the first degree (s. 30-2-1 Murder).

I don't buy any of that because, if Hutchins' assumption was that the gun was unloaded, she could not fear an imminent unlawful application of force.

Still -- fun to think about!

There's another way to skin that cat, though I don't imagine it would apply, the so-called "depraved heart" murder rule, which is mentioned in the third clause here:

A. Murder in the first degree is the killing of one human being by another without lawful justification or excuse, by any of the means with which death may be caused:

(1) by any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing;

(2) in the commission of or attempt to commit any felony; or

(3) by any act greatly dangerous to the lives of others, indicating a depraved mind regardless of human life.

The idea is that you act in a way that is so willfully in disregard to whether someone lives or dies it counts as intentional murder. It's called "depraved heart" in other states that employ the rule.

The trouble with that is: Well, you wouldn't want all accidental shootings to fall under this rule, so what would bring Baldwin's shooting into the "depraved mind" category? You could argue that he had prior knowledge that there were all sorts of problems with the guns and live ammo on the set, with people quitting over safety concerns. (He claimed he didn't hear about that but I'm sure he claimed that to avoid legal liability, and I'm sure this could be proven a lie.)

So he had a duty to act with even greater care, not the much reduced care he actually acted with.

Still, another big s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

But the idea of Alec Baldwin cooling his heels in jail for the rest of his life amuses me sufficiently to spend a few minutes trying to dream up ways in which it could possibly happen.

Don't drop the soap, Tough Guy.

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posted by Ace at 01:03 PM

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