Scott Warren, a volunteer for Arizona-based migrant-aid group No More Deaths, was put on trial by federal prosecutors in beginning May 29 of this year. On June 11, that trial ended in a hung jury.
Warren had been arrested by Border Patrol agents raiding a structure in the desert outside the town of Ajo called “The Barn,” where No More Deaths and other humanitarian groups gather, teach and store supplies. Two migrants had been dropped there to rest by an Arizona resident who had seen them emerge from the desert brush at a gas station several miles away, just prior to Warren arriving at the Barn on a January day in 2018. Border Patrol and local sheriffs had had the structure under surveillance for some time, and knew Warren’s identity as a leader of No More Deaths. Just the day before, the group had released a report about Border Patrol efforts to block efforts by humanitarian groups to aid migrants in need (over 120 migrants have died in that region of southern Arizona in the past 12 months, most from dehydration and injury on the migrant trails there).
Following the hung jury announcement, prosecutors offered to dismiss the felony human trafficing consipracy charge against Warren – a charge potentially carrying a long federal prison term – if he would plead guilty to the two misdemeanor aiding and abetting charges bundled together with the conspiracy charge. The prosecutors offerd a sentence of time already served as part of plea. That would allow the prosecutors to salvage some small victory from their prosecution, and allow Warren to eliminate the risk of prison. Yet Warren refused.
His new trial begins on November 12. Federal prosecutors may dismiss all charges before the trial begins. Under ordinary circumstances, this might be the most likely scenario, but prosecutors in President Trump’s justice department are under political pressure to take a maximally tough posture.
A case in point: in a motion filed Thursday, October 31, prosecutors asked for the court to bar Warren from mentioning President Trump or the Trump Administration during the upcoming trial, a request so far out of line with the law that were the judge to grant it – almost impossible to imagine – it would surely establish powerful grounds to appeal if Warren is convicted.
More here from The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2019/05/04/no-more-deaths-scott-warren-migrants-border-arizona/