Humanitarian aid volunteer, Scott Warren, faced 20 years in prison for providing water, food, clean clothes and beds to two undocumented migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona.
The judge ruled the trial against Warren was a mistrial after the jury was split, eight declared him not guilty and four declared him guilty.
Warren walked outside of the courthouse to speak with supporters and called on people to “stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees.”
“The government’s plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis? Policies to target undocumented people, refugees, and their families,” Warren said. “Prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness, and solidarity. And now, the revelation that they will build an enormous and expensive wall across a vast stretch of southwestern Arizona’s unbroken Sonoran Desert.”
Warren said 88 bodies were recovered in the desert of Southern Arizona during the time he was arrested. According to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, more than 2,800 remains have been recovered from the wilderness of Southern Arizona from 2000 to 2017.
Warren’s trial was the first time in more than a decade that an Arizona humanitarian aid volunteer faced felony human smuggling charges, carrying a potential 20 years in prison.
Federal prosecutors can choose to retry Warren after the mistrial, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office declined to comment on whether the government would.
The judge set a status conference for the case on July 2.
Photo: “Silent Sentinals” by Ken Bosma is licensed under CC BY 2.0