TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A federal court appealed the convictions of four No More Deaths volunteers, citing religious freedom, court documents show.
Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick, all volunteers with the Unitarian Universalist Church-affiliated group No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes, were originally convicted for violations of regulations governing the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
The conviction was in response to the group leaving food and water in the desert for migrants to find in August 2017. The area is in a section of the desert where people frequently die of dehydration and exposure, according to court documents.
In their appeal, the defendants argued religious freedom, saying their actions “were sincere exercises of religion," which is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. On Monday, Feb. 3, 2020 a federal court upheld that decision, official overturning their convictions.