Judges Make or Break a Trial — Let's Meet the Person Presiding Over Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' Case

The judge in Alec Baldwin's trial already convicted 'Rust' armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 9 2024, Published 12:42 p.m. ET

Alec Baldwin and Jugde Mary Sommer
Source: Getty Images

After a two week trial that began in February 2024, the armorer working on the Rust movie was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the on-set shooting.

The jury only took three hours to decide Hannah Gutierrez's fate, which was then handed over to Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer who sentenced her to 18 months in prison.

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Judge Sommer had some very choice words for the young woman, who showed little remorse for what she did. This same judge will be handling Alec Baldwin's case. Let's meet her.

Who is the judge dealing with Alec Baldwin's case?

Judge Sommer is already proving she will not be taken for a ride when it comes to Alec Baldwin's trial. According to People, she has upheld the involuntary manslaughter charge three times.

In a motion filed by Baldwin's attorneys on May 6, 2024, they claimed their client's due process had been violated when the gun used in the shooting had been tampered with by government agents who tested it. This meant Baldwin's lawyers couldn't conduct their own tests.

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Alec Baldwin listens to testimony during a pretrial hearing at the First Judicial District Courthouse on July 8, 2024
Source: Getty Images

Alec Baldwin listens to testimony during a pretrial hearing at the First Judicial District Courthouse on July 8, 2024

They argued that the prosecution was determined to find a celebrity guilty and thus failed to document the state of the gun using photographs or video. Instead, they carried on with testing it using dummy rounds, knowing full well this could compromise the firearm.

In response to this, the prosecution insisted they did in fact "carefully document" the gun's condition.

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Judge Sommer ruled in favor of the prosecution, writing in her order, "The Court finds and concludes that Defendant fails to establish that the State acted in bad faith when destroying certain internal components of the firearm in the course of the accidental discharge testing."

She also ruled that the prosecution must disclose the damaging nature of the tests and provide witnesses who will support their findings. In turn, the Defendant can cross-examine these witnesses.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer (C) speaks with prosecutor Kari Morrissey (L) and defense attorney Jason Bowles during the first day of testimony in the case against armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Source: Getty Images
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Judge Sommer has a legal career that spans decades.

Judge Sommer has an impressive legal background that began when she graduated from George Mason School of Law in 1983, per Ballotpedia. While in law school, Judge Sommer clerked for both the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division as well as the National Association of Manufactures.

For over 20 years, Judge Sommer was a partner at Marlowe Law Firm. In November 2010 she was elected to the First Judicial District of New Mexico, where she served until 2020 and was re-elected that November.

With this resume, it's no surprise that Judge Sommer has been pretty open about keeping Baldwin's trial professional.

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