Prosecutors Are Still Trying To Convict A Man Who Left Water For Migrants Even Though A Jury Already Declined To Convict Him
Last year, we were shocked to hear that a person had been arrested for leaving water and food for undocumented people walking the treacherous path to the U.S.
Even more shocking was that border patrol agents were videotaped disposing of the much-needed water as if it were a game. The message they sent was clear: undocumented people do not deserve help and those that help them will get arrested.
One man knows this reality all too well as he was arrested and put on trial for helping save the lives of migrants attempting to cross into the US by leaving them water and food. His case resulted in a mistrial because the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.
After a jury failed to convict him, Scott Warren is again facing prison time for giving water to migrants.
Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday they will retry humanitarian aid volunteer and immigration rights activist Scott Warren on two charges related to aiding migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This comes just a few weeks after a jury refused to convict Warren for providing water, food, clean clothes and beds to two undocumented migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona.
Eight jurors found Warren not guilty; four said he was. Federal prosecutors will make their case against Warren again in an 8-day jury trial in November.
If convicted on the two felony migrant harboring charges, Warren faces up to 10 years in prison.
According to CNN, prosecutors “unexpectedly offered a plea bargain to Warren” on Tuesday that would drop the two charges in exchange for a guilty plea on the misdemeanor charge of “aiding and abetting illegal entry without inspection.”
Whether Warren will take the plea deal remains to be seen. Warren’s lawyer says that the deal is open for 10 days and that it is up to his client to consider what action he wants to take. If Warren decided to go back to court, the trial would begin in November.
Here is Scott Warren’s statement after prosecutors made the announcement.
Leaving the courthouse, Warren expressed more allegiance than ever to the cause that he has supported so deeply:
“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.”
The new charges come after just a few weeks ago a jury in a federal court reached a mistrial and failed to convict him.
He faced up to 20 years in jail but was freed in June after a mistrial ruling in his case. Eight of the 12 jurors wanted to acquit Warren on all three charges Arizona prosecutors had pushed.
A mistrial is not an acquittal, and Arizona prosecutors are scary crazy. It was reported on Tuesday that, while they were dropping one of the three charges, Tucson, Arizona, prosecutors would continue to pursue two charges of “harboring illegal aliens” against Warren.
One Twitter user pointed out the absurdity of the case but that the cruelty is the point with this administration.
Not only is the Trump administration working hard to make the lives of migrants difficult and miserable once they’re in the US (especially those that are being kept in migrant detention centers) but it’s also working to criminalize those who try to help migrants.
Other’s pointed out the irony of the case given the actions of our own government.
The news of this retrial comes as shocking reports of the conditions inside migrant detention centers are going viral.
Many on Twitter were coming for Arizona, pointing out not only the ethical blunder of the decision but also the extreme waste of tax dollars.
Aside from sending the message that people shouldn’t help those in need, the court cases, especially if the government loses a second time, are costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. In a state with record low education funding and growing income inequality, you think the state would have figured out its priorities.