Hooray: Jury Won’t Convict Man For Helping Keep Immigrants Alive

As if federal prosecutors have nothing better to do, the government charged 36-year-old Scott Warren with the crimes of offering a pair of needy migrant men water, food and temporary shelter. For what many would consider a compassionate act, Warren faced 20 years in prison.

The Trump administration has encouraged border agents to crack down on those who aid undocumented immigrants, but thankfully a jury of Warren’s peers doesn’t agree with that philosophy. After three days of deliberation, the jury remained deadlocked, with eight out of 12 jurors believing Warren’s actions did not warrant a guilty verdict.

For the record, Warren plays no part in helping migrants across the border, rather he sets up water stations to help the people making the trek through the brutal Arizona desert. At least 88 migrants have perished in this region in the past year and a half, and he’s just doing his part to try to keep these desperate people alive.

Warren normally doesn’t even take migrants in, but he met the two undocumented men he was apprehended with by chance and offered to feed them and give them a place to rest their blistered feet. The men have since been deported from the United States.

“The government’s plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis? Policies to target undocumented people, refugees and their families,” said Warren after the non-verdict. “Prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness and solidarity.”

The defense accuses the government of selectively going after Warren as an act of retribution for his participation in the activist group No More Deaths. Authorities were well aware for years that the group would leave out water and food around the desert for migrants in need, but on the same day that No More Deaths published a video of border patrol destroying these supplies, law enforcement apprehended Warren.

The prosecutors will take a few weeks to decide whether to press forward and hold a retrial. Hopefully, they’ll realize it’s a waste of time considering that the majority of jurors sided with Warren rather than the government.

In the meantime, there are a couple important takeaways from this news. The first is that the Trump administration is taking a cruel stance when it comes to immigration. They clearly not only don’t mind when migrants die on U.S. soil, they actively want that to happen when they’re threatening to imprison people who offer them survival care. That’s disgusting.

The second is how important it is to serve on juries. Many of us default to trying to get excused as soon as possible, but the good people of the country need to show up and rebel against the unjust laws. Remember, when appropriate, that jury nullification is an option, and exercise your conscience when the justice system doesn’t seem just.

After all, just because the Trump government thinks that giving migrants water is a jail-able offense doesn’t mean we have to accept that.

131 comments

Lesa D
Lesa D12 days ago

thank you Kevin...

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Alea C
Alea C20 days ago

Tyfs.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R21 days ago

Great news, indeed. and I'm so happy to have so many american friends with common sense...

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini24 days ago

Rhoberta E
Yes, and I DO know what YOU are saying! It would certainly have been more courageous of Assange to allow himself to be extradicted to the US to face whatever they choose to throw at him. But given what was (is, now) likely to happen to him I can't humanly blame him for trying to avoid it. Also I admit to a childish (I'm ashamed of myself) sense of glee that he was cocking a snook at big bully America. I can't help wondering, though, if he was planning on spending the rest of his life holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy?

Whatever happens to him, I fear his example is not good news for investigative journalism round the world. I am really interested in what charges they will bring against him. All he did was publish some embarrassing truths, he did nothing to undermine state security or put anyone at risk. So this does look like a blatant attack on the freedom of the press.

Thanks for Sunday wishes. Have a good week yourself!

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E24 days ago

@ Annabel Bedini.
I DO know what you're saying and I am not trying to conflate the two issues.
If something is necessary to disclose for the safety of man or country, I agree that steps should be taken to protect the same.
The only thing I am saying is that there is a right way to help that to happen.
assange was / is his own worst enemy and someone like him will perhaps discourage others from coming forward. IF he (as he says) has done nothing wrong except what he did for altruistic reasons, then he will have a chance to explain that with help from many who still support what he did.
My reference to the Steele dossier was the fact that what was uncovered showed just how much Russia was involved in cyber security and influence. NOT the salacious stuff because trump himself admits he has erred in that department.
It IS a conundrum for the world but the character of assange WILL be questioned
Happy Sunday !!

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini24 days ago

Rhoberta E
Sorry, I failed to provide the link for my below quote. It comes from an article in The Guardian of 11 June and I got it by googling 'what charges do the US want to bring against Julian Assange'. I've tried to copy the whole link address, but it cuts me off half way through. Sorry to be so inefficient!

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini24 days ago

Rhoberta E

....was merely the instrument, not the prime mover.

It will be interesting to see how the charges against Assange are worded. The co-founder of Wikileaks, Kristinn Hraffnson has said:
'The US has accused Assange of violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010. The 18 charges against Assange reject his claim he was simply a publisher receiving leaked material, which would be protected under press freedom legislation.

Hrafnsson said the charges were “very revealing about the nature of this entire case”. He said the Espionage Act was part of an “archaic legal framework ... and has never been used against a publisher and a journalist”.

“It’s an indication of the watershed moment that we are now seeing in the attack on journalism,” he said.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini25 days ago

Rhoberta E
If I read you right I think you may be confusing two separate issues here. One is the question of Assange's cowardice and motivation, the other is the public's democratic need to know in order to hold governments accountable for their actions. You say things should be handled 'above board' and of course I agree with you, but if nefarious activities are never brought to light how can they be handled above board? Digging up dirt in order to discredit a political rival is despicable, whereas exposing unlawful or shameful conduct on the part of the powers that be seems to me to be an essential function of journalism. Manning, as a decent human being, was profoundly shocked by the behaviour of the military of his own country and felt the world needed to know (and I agree with him). So he contacts someone who has the ability to publish his findings. Snowden found himself in a similar situation, an honest, decent man who sees things going on that he can't, in all conscience, condone. What should he do? Sending the information to the FBI would inevitably mean a cover up, never see the light of day.

As for Assange's character, I agree, he leaves much to be desired but I don't think that is the question here. The question becomes the thorny one of whether or not the public has the right to know what its government and military are getting up to and hoping to cover up. Assange, however unsavoury he may be, was merely the instrument, not

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E25 days ago

brian f
Your justification is skewed !!
When the Steele dossier was compiled and Mr. Steele learned the things he did, he sent it to I believe Senator McCain who then gave it to the FBI.
Mr. Steele at least had a background IN law enforcement and assange is just a wannabe (much like you).
You can spin this any way you want but the facts don't change do they. Rule of law is for everyone in the world (supposedly) especially if you are from a country that believes in a democratic society. Like Canada, Australia, the US, the UK and MANY other well respected countries. We shouldn't get to pick and choose what is right and what is wrong.
assange is STILL a coward. The word you use, "overlook" is just what trump supporters are doing now and YOU about Russian involvement.

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Brian F
Brian F25 days ago

Rhoberta E If the information that Assange passed on was stolen and Assange knew it, that is wrong. However since this information showed the the US government was involved in high level corruption, which they were, I think we need to overlook any wrongdoing by Assange. Manning broke security protocols by releasing this secret information to Assange. Under normal circumstances, Manning would go to prison for life for violating the law by releasing classified information. However when the information that whistleblowers release proves another person or government is guilty of a serious crime like the US government is, then we need to overlook any laws that these whistleblowers broke. Otherwise everyone will be scared to report the truth when they see corruption, because they wiill be afraid of retaliation and being locked up in prison for for simply telling the truth.

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