It took the jury just a few hours to acquit the human rights activist who was charged with breaking the law because he provided food, water, clothing, and shelter, to weary immigrants crossing the desert regions on the US-Mexican border. The first trial had ended in a hung jury and the Customs and Border Protection agency decided to try him again and this time urged the judge to not allow Warren to bring up the cruel policies of Donald Trump as a defense.
I do not know if the judge agreed to the request or not but whatever that decision was, it is clear that the jury felt that providing humanitarian aid should not be criminalized.
The activist Scott Warren has been acquitted on charges he illegally harbored two Central American migrants, after facing two trials over what he insisted was simply helping people in need.
The Wednesday verdict by a jury in US district court came after jurors deliberated for just hours. It was the second trial for Warren; a mistrial was declared last June after a jury deadlocked on harboring charges.
Warren was stoic after the verdict was read. His supporters were crying at the news of the decision.
Warren, 37, testified that neutrality guides his work near the border and denied he has ever helped migrants hide or instructed them how to avoid authorities.
Greg Kuykendall, an attorney who defended Warren, said the new jury followed the law carefully.
“They parsed the evidence,” he said. “They paid rapt attention while we were putting on our defense and while the prosecution was putting on its case, and they decided that humanitarian aid is not always a crime, the way the government wanted it to be.
Law are generally tools used by the powerful to protect themselves and their property. Ordinary people have a better sense of what the law should be, rather than what it is. I suspect that in this case, they did not care that much what the letter of the law said. They likely felt that Warren had a done a good deed that should not be punished.