2019-06-12 13:30:21

Criminalizing kindness? An Arizona man on trial for giving food, water, and shelter to migrants is free for now after jury members could not agree on a verdict and were dismissed by the federal judge presiding over the case.

College instructor Scott Daniel Warren had been charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented immigrants, a felony that could come with 20 years of prison time. His attorneys argued that he was just providing “basic human kindness” to people on a perilous journey across the Arizona desert. From the Associated Press:

Outside the courthouse, Warren thanked his supporters and criticized the government’s efforts to crack down on the number of immigrants coming to the U.S.

“Today it remains as necessary as ever for local residents and humanitarian aid volunteers to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and we must also stand for our families, friends and neighbors in the very land itself most threatened by the militarization of our borderland communities,” Warren said.

Glenn McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona, declined to comment on whether Warren will face another trial. The judge set a July 2 status hearing for the defense and prosecution.

AP goes on to note that “border activists say they worry about what they see as the gradual criminalization of humanitarian action.” Migrant deaths in “Arizona’s scorching deserts” number in the thousands since the mid-1990s, AP says.

Warren is part of a group called “No Más Muertes,” or No More Deaths. Since his arrest in January 2018, “at least 88 bodies were recovered from the Ajo corridor of the Arizona desert,” he told reporters outside the courthouse yesterday, accusing the feds of targeting “prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness and solidarity.”


ELECTION 2020

Wonkette pushes the Harris campaign line that people hate her merely because she was a prosecutor (and that she shouldn’t have to explain herself about it). Others kindly point out that it’s not what she was but what she did in that position that matters. At National Review, Jim Geraghty elaborates on this theme:

What is interesting here is the adamant insistence that somehow Harris is being wronged by having her record as a prosecutor challenged, and that questioning that record is somehow inherently unjust or out of bounds, that something has gone terribly wrong with our political and journalism worlds when Harris feels the need to defend her past decisions and actions.

Meanwhile, at the polls:


AROUND REASON

Peter Suderman writes about the recent riff between Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) and other members of the House Freedom Caucus, of which Amash was a founding member:

You can certainly read Rep. Justin Amash’s recent criticisms of President Trump and the vast majority of elected Republicans who back him as attacks against a president that Amash believes has failed the nation and the office—or on the GOP for its willingness to go along with the same—and you wouldn’t be wrong to do so.

But it would be a mistake to assume that’s all Amash is doing, or even that is it necessarily the most important aspect of his critique. Amash isn’t just a NeverTrump pundit with a congressional office; his target is larger than Trump and the party stalwarts who back him. Rather, he is taking aim at the binary choices offered by the Republican/Democrat duopoly, the unthinking partisanship it seems to require, and the ways that partisanship has made Congress less willing to exercise its constitutional duties as a co-equal branch of government. Amash isn’t just taking on Trump; he’s making a systemic critique of the two-party system.

Whole thing here. And on cue from Amash:


QUICK HITS

  • Facebook will leave up a “deepfake” video of Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman arrested for entering Mar-a-Lago on false pretenses, will serve as her own lawyer, despite having “struggled with legal concepts and spoken English” during proceedings, as the New York Post described it.
  • The drug war never dies, it just takes new forms.
  • When even @TheTweetOfGod gets suspended…

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