Scott Warren just spoke briefly to his friends and supporters. He highlighted the 88 sets of human remains found in the desert since his arrest, and spoke of the migrants he was arrested with and how they, sadly, have not received the same attention and support that he has. pic.twitter.com/vThn6m81SY
— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) June 11, 2019
New info: the jury in Scott Warren’s trial broke 8 to 4, 8 for not guilty, 4 for guilty.
— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) June 11, 2019
… The GOP’s war on suffering humanity, not to mention the explicit instructions of that Jesus guy to whom they’re always proclaiming their allegiance. Warren shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place, but at least 8 out of 12 jurors stood up for decency. Per the Washington Post:
When Scott Daniel Warren was arrested last year after allegedly providing food, water, beds and clean clothes to undocumented immigrants near Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, the question was whether he had broken the law or upheld it.
“No Más Muertes,” an advocacy group that wants “no more deaths” of people crossing the desert regions linking Mexico and the southwestern United States, sees Warren — one of its most visible members — as an apostle of humanitarianism. His advocates say the geographer, who has taught courses at Arizona State University, was heeding both religious rules and international covenants that require sanctuary for the persecuted and the dispossessed.
The government, however, sees Warren, 36, as a felon. Arrested by Border Patrol agents in January 2018 at a property offering aid for immigrants in Ajo, Ariz., he was accused of helping border-crossers evade authorities, which is prohibited under federal law.
The activist faced up to 20 years in prison on charges of harboring and conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants…
The judge, Raner C. Collins, dismissed them and scheduled a status hearing in the case for July 2. The U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona did not immediately indicate whether it would seek another trial.
Addressing reporters outside the courthouse, Warren called on Americans to link arms with immigrants, a stance that activists claim is being criminalized as part of the Trump administration’s hard-line approach to border control. The geography instructor is one of numerous members of the “No More Deaths” group who have run afoul of law enforcement for trying to assist migrants. He is the first, however, to be slapped with felony charges…
In addition to leaving water, food, socks, blankets and other supplies in the remote corners of Arizona’s deserts, No More Deaths also seeks to “document the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment endured by detainees in short-term Border Patrol custody as well as in the immigration-detention system.” Six migrant children have died since December after being taken into custody by federal authorities…
[Warren’s defense attorney] Kuykendall also failed to convince the court that prosecution would endanger his client’s religious freedom — his adherence to Christian principles compelling him to “provide emergency aid to fellow human beings in need.”
The government answered that its actions had neither discriminatory intent nor impact. Instead, U.S. attorneys maintained that the sting was aimed simply at enforcing criminal law.
Enforcement of the harboring statute was stepped up in 2017 at the direction of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who ordered federal prosecutors to prioritize “any case involving the unlawful transportation or harboring of aliens.”…
“Religous freedom” to deny services, but not to provide them. To quote Adam Serwer: The cruelty is the point.
Jay Willis, in GQ:
… Warren’s arrest took place hours after No More More Deaths uploaded a video depicting Border Patrol Agents emptying jugs of water the group placed in the desert. According to the New York Times, Warren is the only No More Deaths volunteer to face felony charges, but authorities have charged at least eight others with misdemeanors this year. This week’s result is a reprieve, not an exoneration; because the jury deadlocked, prosecutors are free to try him again for the same alleged crimes. The presiding judge has scheduled a status conference for July 2.
To a certain extent, every legal system seeks to de-incentivize behaviors which the powers that be deem socially undesirable. But No More Deaths has been working in the borderlands since 2004; at this juncture, weaponizing the criminal justice system against those who give water to immigrants is an extreme and unabashedly political choice. Last week, experts at the United Nations Human Rights Council publicly urged authorities to drop the charges. “The vital and legitimate humanitarian work of Scott Warren and No More Deaths upholds the right to life and prevents the deaths of migrants and asylum seekers,” they wrote. “Providing humanitarian aid is not a crime.”
Warren thanked his well-wishers after the jury’s dismissal, but called attention to the human consequences of the prosecution he fought. “In the time since I was arrested in January 2018, no fewer than 88 bodies were recovered from the Arizona desert,” he said in front of the courthouse. Those lives could have been saved. But this government won’t do it, and it doesn’t want anyone else to try.