Thursday, September 20, 2018

RFRA Defense To Harboring Aliens Rejected At Pre-Trial Stage

An Arizona federal district court this week refused to dismiss criminal charges against Scott Warren, a volunteer with the humanitarian group No More Deaths.(Background). Warren was charged with concealing and harboring aliens to avoid their detention by immigration authorities. The complaint alleges that Warren gave two men who crossed the border illegally food, water, beds and clean clothes for three days.  In United States v. Warren, (D AZ, Sept. 17, 2018), the court rejected at this stage of the case Warren's defense that his actions are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The court held that RFRA is an affirmative defense to the charges against Warren, and should be decided through a trial rather than through a pre-trial motion to dismiss. [Thanks to Stephanie Inks via Religionlaw for the lead.]