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Tragedy on Alec Baldwin’s New Mexico movie set

New Mexico readers following major news headlines are undoubtedly aware of a tragedy that occurred on a movie set this past week, involving Hollywood actor, Alec Baldwin and the crew of his new movie, “Rust.” Baldwin reportedly shot the cinematographer and director of the film. Investigators are now questioning Baldwin, as well as the 24-year-old woman who was in charge of firearms maintenance, training and safety on the set. It is logical to assume that someone facing this type of investigation would request criminal defense support.  

No charges have yet been filed in this case 

While the situation resulted in the tragic death of the cinematographer and injuries to the director, no one who was present on the movie set is facing criminal charges at the time this post is being written. However, as soon as a person becomes a subject in a police investigation, he or she has a right to request legal support. A person need not answer interrogation questions without the benefit of an attorney’s presence. 

The armorer publicly stated that she was unsure of her competency 

Making matters worse for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, she has expressed uncertainty publically about her own readiness to work as an armorer on a set previously. In a podcast titled “Voices of the West“, Guiterrez-Reed expressed hesitation at accepting her first position as lead armor in the western called “The Old Way.” She stated, “I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready.” She has also faced additional scrutiny in the past when guns were discharged unexpectedly on other sets of films where she has worked. Working on the set of Rust was only her second time as head armorer. 

However, lawyers for Guiterrez-Reed argue that Guiterrez-Reed has “no idea where the live rounds came from” and also assert that she was not given time to properly train those on set. Whether the formal investigation of this Hollywood movie tragedy results in criminal charges remains to be seen. 

Public opinion and criminal evidence are two separate matters 

If a person in New Mexico or elsewhere is under investigation on suspicion of a firearms violation following a shooting that resulted in injury or fatality, he or she has a right to discuss the case with an experienced criminal defense attorney, even if no arrest has been made or no charges have been filed at the time. Denying someone the right to legal representation under investigation is a personal rights violation. If a person winds up facing criminal charges in court, an attorney may request a case dismissal or challenge evidence as inadmissible if there is proof that a personal rights violation took place leading up to, during or following an arrest.