Lives in Phoenix, Arizona
Dr. Scott Warren is on trial in Tucson, Arizona for giving shelter, water, food and medial care to two men from Central America in Ajo, Arizona in January 2017. Following are notes from Day 3 of his trial from No More Deaths:
Day 3, Nov. 14
1. We started off the day outside court by decorating water gallons with messages of solidarity and love. Volunteers then went out to the desert on water drops, joined by members of the Catholic Worker Movement and Jewish Voice for Peace. Throughout the past two years of prosecution, we have not stopped our work in the field and regardless of the outcome of this case will continue to give aid where it is most needed.
2.Trial began with video of the interrogation of the two men arrested with Dr. Warren--José and Kristian--both of whom were detained until they testified and then deported. We acknowledge that these stories are not ours to tell, but we also don’t want their experiences to be erased.
3. José and Kristian are from Honduras and El Salvador, respectively. Like so many people who attempt this journey, they traveled for months before they scaled the wall and entered the Arizona desert. They described dropping their food and water after seeing Border Patrol agents in the desert near Ajo and continued on through the cold, without any supplies. In video deposition, José explained how he and Kristian supported each other as they navigated north - “We guided ourselves by the stars. Between the two of us, we made a good team. We supported each other mutually.”
4. In the afternoon the prosecution called Patti Fitzsimmons, a US Border Patrol Enforcement Analysis Specialist who does forensic extractions of cell phones and described their job as tracking “criminal activity” throughout the Tucson sector, and network analysis “to take down an entire organization”.
5. The prosecution focused their questioning of Fitzsimmons on selfies extracted from Kristian’s cell phone that showed José and him at a gas station and later, at the Barn cooking themselves dinner. As with the last trial, the government’s argument seems to be that the men were not visibly ill and therefore not deserving of food and water.
6. Cross-examination by the defense focused on cell phone records extracted from Dr. Warren’s phone, which included calls and texts with nurses, doctors, volunteers, and the local sheriff's department. From the previous trial we know these communications to be medical consultations and reports of recovered remains. The defense clarified that there was no evidence of contact between Dr. Warren and Kristian's phones.
7. After Fitzsimmon’s testimony, the prosecution rested their case. Defense Attorney, Amy Knight, then moved for all charges to be dropped based on insufficient evidence in the case. Judge Collins denied the motion.
8. The defense called their first witness, Dr. Greg Hess. Dr. Hess is a forensic pathologist and the Chief Medical Examiner for Pima County. He examines the remains of hundreds of people that are recovered from the desert surrounding Tucson every year. He described the increase in deaths over the last decade, stating that prior to the year 2000, less than 20 remains were recovered every year in Arizona. By 2002 this jumped to over 100, and has averaged 164 for the last 20 years. The majority of deaths are caused by exposure. The prosecution repeatedly tried to object to Dr. Hess’s testimony based on relevance stating that “there are no deaths in
this case”, but were overruled.
9. The final witness for the day was Dr. Ed McCullough, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and volunteer with the humanitarian aid organization Tucson Samaritans. Dr. McCullough was absent from trial, so the defense had the transcript of his testimony read from the previous felony trial. His testimony described geographic trends of undocumented recovered remains, focusing on the increase in remains being recovered in the west desert surrounding Ajo, Arizona – specifically, the “trail of deaths” documented in the Growler Valley.
Court does not resume until 11:30 in the morning tomorrow--Friday! There will be an overflow room available so there is plenty of space for people to come show their support. Join No More Deaths for screenprinting t-shirts tomorrow at 10am outside the courthouse, and please bring your own t-shirt if you want one