On Tuesday, A Tucson, Arizona jury announced they were “unable to reach a verdict,” in the case involving human rights activist Scott Warren, charged with harboring illegal aliens at his home in Ajo, Arizona.
That left U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins with no choice except to declare a mistrial.
Warren was taken into custody by the Border Patrol in January of 2018. He claims he was simply providing “humanitarian aid.”
The hung jury underscores the sharp divide in the conservative state, which also has a high Latin American migrant population, a significant number of whom are undocumented.
Warren testified in court that his “spiritual values” required him to help those who “stumble” out of the desert into Ajo.
Prosecutors in the federal case asserted that Warren was involved in what amounts to an “underground railroad” for illegals. He didn’t just give the two men he’s charged with helping a drink of water as they crossed through his yard, he went out of his way to transport them to “a ramshackle building used by activists who provide water, food and first aid to migrants,” as noted by Reuters.
Warren’s defense lawyers counter that argument, insisting “he was exercising his legal right to provide aid to people crossing Arizona’s southern deserts.”
Many in Arizona say that the efforts by Warren and his associates, such as staging caches of water and other supplies along smuggler’s routes, are effectively setting bait — enticing migrants to brave the perilous and often deadly journey with a false sense of security.
It’s up to prosecutors now, whether or not to request a new trial with a different jury. The alternative is to simply drop all the charges. Looking at Twitter, it’s easy to see which way the wind blows by looking at the comments.
BREAKING: HUNG JURY IN THE SCOTT WARREN CASE
A judge has ordered a mistrial after jurors told the court that further deliberation would not result in a unanimous decision in the case. https://t.co/0dEdkz8u1x
— The Appeal (@theappeal) June 11, 2019