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Court allows Lili Zhang Tydingco to remain out of jail

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DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has granted the request of Lili Zhang Tydingco to remain out of jail while waiting for the result of her appeal.

In Sept. 2019, following two and a half hours of deliberation, jurors found Tydingco guilty of one count of harboring a minor alien.

In June 2020, Judge Manglona sentenced Tydingco to a 90-day jail term. The defendant then filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

She is currently out of custody pending her surrender to the U.S. Marshals.

Through her attorney Bruce Berline, she also filed a motion for release pending appeal.

In granting the defendant’s request for release, Judge Manglona said the parties submitted a stipulation for temporary stay of sentence while the motion for release pending appeal is decided.

The judge said she has granted the stipulation.

If the Ninth Circuit affirms the defendant’s conviction, Tydingco must surrender for placement within the Bureau of Prisons, the judge said.

It was the second time that Tydingco was convicted of the same charge.

In June 2016, she and her husband, Francisco Muna Tydingco, were convicted of harboring a 10-year-old girl they brought from China in 2013.

The jury found Mrs. Tydingco guilty of harboring an alien and Mr. Tydingco guilty of aiding and abetting his wife.

On Sept. 13, 2013, the Tydingcos and their two minor children went to China where they met with the parents of the 10-year-old girl. The couple brought the girl to Saipan and enrolled her in a public school two weeks after arrival.

The girl’s CNMI parole visa expired on Nov. 5, 2013, but she stayed with the Tydingcos until Feb. 19, 2015.

In a seven-page ruling on Sept. 30, 2016, Judge Manglona said there was no question that the 10-year-old girl was an alien who remained in the U.S. in violation of federal immigration law; or that the Tydingcos harbored her by giving her shelter in their home.

On Dec. 9, 2016, Mrs. Tydingco was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment while Mr. Tydingco was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment.

The Tydingcos, through their lawyers, appealed and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse their conviction and vacate their sentences.

The appellate court remanded the conviction of the Tydingcos for a new trial. The Ninth Circuit judges said the jury could have convicted the defendants on an invalid theory.

On May 10, 2019, the U.S. government opted not to pursue the case against Mr. Tydingco, and asked the federal court to dismiss the charge against him.

On May 30, 2019,  Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe refiled a superseding indictment against Lili Tydingco. charging her with harboring an illegal minor alien.

Berline told Variety previously that if the Ninth Circuit remanded the case again for the same reasons as last time, then the defense could raise a double jeopardy issue.

 

 

 

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