Jury can’t decide on charges against Arizona border activist



news image

TUCSON, Ariz. — A U.S. jury could not reach a verdict Tuesday against a border activist charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants in a trial that humanitarian aid groups said would have wide implications on their work.

Defense attorneys argued that Scott Daniel Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor, was simply being kind by providing two migrants with water, food and lodging when he was arrested in early 2018. He faced up to 20 years in prison.

But prosecutors maintained the men were not in distress and Warren conspired to transport and harbor them at a property used for providing aid to migrants in an Arizona town near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The case played out as humanitarian groups say they are coming under increasing scrutiny under President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies.

Outside the courthouse, Warren thanked his supporters and criticized the government’s efforts to crack down on the number of immigrants coming to the U.S.

“Today it remains as necessary as ever for local residents and humanitarian aid volunteers to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and we must also stand for our families, friends and neighbors in the very land itself most threatened by the militarization of our borderland communities,” Warren said.

Glenn McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona, declined to comment on whether Warren will face another trial. The judge set a July 2 status hearing for the defense and prosecution.

Warren is one of nine members of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths who have been charged with crimes related to their work. But he is the only one to face felony charges.

In West Texas, a county attorney was detained earlier this year after stopping her car on a dark highway to pick up three young migrants who flagged her down. Teresa Todd was held briefly, and federal agents searched her cellphone.

Border activists say they worry about what they see as the gradual criminalization of humanitarian action.

Warren has said his case could set a dangerous precedent by expanding the definition of the crimes of transporting and harboring migrants to include people merely trying to help border-crossers in desperate need of water or other necessities.

Warren and other volunteers with the No More Deaths group also were targeted earlier this year in separate federal misdemeanor cases after leaving water, canned food and other provisions for migrants hiking through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona.

In Warren’s felony case, the defense team headed by Greg Kuykendall argued that Warren could not, in good conscience, turn away two migrants who had recently crossed the desert to enter the U.S.

Jurors said Monday that they couldn’t reach a consensus on the charges against Warren, but a federal judge told them to keep deliberating. They were still deadlocked Tuesday and ultimately dismissed.

Thousands of migrants have died crossing the border since the mid-1990s, when heightened enforcement pushed migrant traffic into Arizona’s scorching deserts.


Loading...

2 Comments

  1. Steven says

    Seems obvious to me that while there are many hundreds of “border activists”, there are SOME of them who use this as a cover to actively help smuggle migrants across the border while posing as mere “humanitarian helpers”. They leftist media makes in sound as if they were just being charged to punish them for helping migrants to stay alive, but if that’s true, why is ONLY this man being charged? Probably because the agents on the spot determined he WASN’T just leaving water and food, but was actively assisting in smuggling migrants across the border. As for the woman with the migrants in her car, they make it sound as if she was arrested and punished for letting an exhausted, half-dead woman into her car, but the part that you don’t notice unless you listen closely is that they NEVER PRESSED CHARGES. A migrant ran up to her car from the bushes as she passed. This could imply he knew she was coming and planned to meet her, or it might appear that way. The story is that suppopsedly he said his sister was sick, needed help. So she let them into her car. A BP agent showed up, found them in her car and arrested her. OF course he did! She was found with migrants in her car! Was the agent supposed to just take her word that she wasn’t doing anything wrong and let her go? That is the court’s job. In the end, she was never convicted or even arraigned, they decided evidence wasn’t sufficient. But the left makes it out to be a martyrdom. What the left and these “activists’ are angry about is that suddenly just claiming to be a humanitarian aide worker doesn’t make you free to break the law and provide an “underground railroad” across the border under guise of putting out food and water depots for migrants. Before this, the government didn’t REALLY care who crossed the border. As long as they kjept up an token appearance of having BP agents, a few visible barriers, and as long as the smugglers pretended to be ‘aide workers” they just left them alone. Now they are trying to actually ENFORCE the LAW and this has the smugglers upset.

  2. tim montana says

    little story big lie

Reply To Steven

Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You might also like