Mistrial declared in case against humanitarian aid worker that gave water to migrants

Warren's case is a result of the escalating law enforcement crackdown against humanitarian aid volunteers.


After a two week long trial, 12 jurors failed to come to a unanimous decision in the case against humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Walker, who was accused of felony harboring and conspiracy after giving water and aid to migrants in the Arizona desert.

Earlier this week jurors notified the presiding judge, District Judge Raner Collins, that they were deadlocked. After being ordered to try again the jurors still could not come to a unanimous decision. Eight jurors believed that Warren was not guilty while four believed he was guilty.

The jurors notified the judge that further deliberation would not result in a unanimous decision and a mistrial was declared. The charges remain, however, with a hearing on the case scheduled for July 2. Warren still faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

“The government put on its best case with the full force of countless resources, and 12 jurors could not agree with that case,” said defense attorney Greg Kuykendall. “Scott Warren remains innocent as a legal and as a factual matter, because the jury could not conclude otherwise,” he added. “We remain devoted today in our commitment to defend Scott’s lifelong devotion to providing humanitarian aid.”

Warren, a professor of geography at Arizona State University and a humanitarian aid worker with No More Deaths, was arrested in January of 2018 at the Barn, a humanitarian aid facility that exists to provide aid to migrants crossing the border through the Sonoran Desert. The desert has been the cause of thousands of migrant’s deaths since 2001.

“Since my arrest in January 2018, at least 88 bodies were recovered from the Ajo corridor of the Arizona desert,” said Warren in a statement to reporters this week. “We know that’s a minimum number and that many more are out there and have not been found.”

Warren’s arrest happened shorter after No More Deaths released video footage of Border Patrol agents destroying water jugs left for migrants. Although in the past Border Patrol and humanitarians were able to exist peacefully alongside each other, in recent years tensions have arisen resulting in the Border Patrol cracking down on humanitarian aid volunteers.


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Ruth Milka started as an intern for NationofChange in 2015. Known for her thoughtful and thorough approach, Ruth is committed to shedding light on the intersection of environmental issues and their impact on human communities. Her reporting consistently highlights the urgency of environmental challenges while emphasizing the human stories at the heart of these issues. Ruth’s work is driven by a passion for truth and a dedication to informing the public about critical global matters concerning the environment and human rights.