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Did He Help or Harbor Migrants? The Jury Is Hung

Scott Warren is in the clear—for now
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2019 7:11 AM CDT
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In this 2018 file photo, Scott Daniel Warren, who is charged with human smuggling, walks in to US District Court in Tucson, Ariz.   (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP, File)
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(Newser) – An Arizona man says he helped two migrants out of the kindness of his heart. Federal prosecutors say he conspired to transport the men while shielding them from Border Patrol agents. And jurors can't decide who they believe. The case, in which 36-year-old geography teacher Scott Warren faced up to 20 years in prison, resulted in a mistrial Tuesday with jurors unable to reach a verdict. Warren's lawyer, Greg Kuykendall, says the split was 8-4 in favor of acquittal on all charges, per CNN. A hearing to determine how to proceed is now set for July 2, with UN human rights experts and more than 137,000 petition signers hoping prosecutors will avoid a retrial. "Warren is a law-abiding, life-giving good Samaritan," while "threatening humanitarians with felonies and prison time … is part of the Trump strategy to deter immigration," Kuykendall tells the New York Times.

Kuykendall believes Warren—a volunteer for No More Deaths, which assists migrants and keeps a camp near the border in Tucson—was targeted by the Justice Department. He was arrested hours after No More Deaths shared footage of Border Patrol agents destroying jugs of water left in the desert, and agents admitted they knew Warren was at the camp on Jan. 17, 2018, when they began watching him with binoculars and a scope. They say Warren appeared to direct the migrants, who'd been dropped off by someone else, around a checkpoint after a two-day stay. Warren, however, claims he was only orienting the migrants after providing food, water, shelter and clean clothes. "In the time since I was arrested in January 2018, no fewer than 88 bodies were recovered from the Arizona desert," he says. The government's response is "prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness and solidarity." (Read more Arizona stories.)

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