Firearms upgrade has ‘legal bug’

  • Alec Baldwin’s lawyers are trying to rule out an enhancement that would extend his prison time.
  • The enhancement was changed in May 2022, a year before the Halyna Hutchins shooting.
  • The First District Attorney said he would review the motion but considered it a distraction.

Alec Baldwin’s attorneys are contesting part of an allegation related to the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust” in October 2021 because it did not exist when the shooting took place.

In January, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies charged Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Baldwin is being “alternatively charged,” meaning that if his case goes to trial, he can only be convicted of one of the charges, which includes 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

One of the manslaughter charges also includes a firearm enhancement, which carries an additional five years in prison.

However, in a motion filed on Friday, Baldwin’s attorneys called the retroactive application of the enhancement an “elementary and unconstitutional legal error,” saying it violated the Ex Post Facto clause of the US and New Mexico constitutions.

During the shooting, New Mexico’s firearms enhancement law can increase the sentence by three years. The law was updated in May 2022 to add two more years to the enhancement.

The pre-2022 firearms enhancement law also clarifies that it would only apply when a firearm is “brandished” prior to a shot, defined as the display of a firearm with the intent to “intimidate or injure a person “. Baldwin’s attorneys argue that the district attorney’s statement of probable cause “nowhere alleges that Mr. Baldwin acted with such intent.”

The updated statute removes the definition of “brandishing” and states that any non-capital offense involving the firing of a weapon would result in the five-year increase.

Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for New Mexico’s First District Attorney, told Insider in a statement that they would review the motion but were still focused on holding Baldwin “accountable under the law.”

“The other day, another motion by Alec Baldwin and his attorneys in an attempt to divert attention from the gross negligence and complete disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ movie set that led to the death of Halyna Hutchins,” Brewer said.

The same charges and improvements were also applied to Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the gunsmith responsible for the weapons on the Santa Fe movie set. In a statement to Variety, Jason Bowles, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, said they would also address the increased charge.

Neami Rahmani, president of attorneys for the West Coast Trial, argued that Baldwin’s attorneys had a point, saying in a statement to Insider that it was “likely” that the judge would rule out increasing the charge.

“Prosecutors are at a loss,” wrote Rahmani. “It’s already a difficult case and they are making mistakes at every turn – waiting too long to prosecute, having a special prosecutor who is a member of the state legislature and whose involvement raises a separation of powers issue, and now stumbling upon a constitutional violation. .”

Lawyers for Baldwin and counsel for Gutierrez-Reed did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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