U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has ordered Department of Corrections Commissioner Ramon C. Mafnas to respond to a prisoner's petition for release from custody.
Manglona gave Mafnas 60 days to answer Minto Minto's petition for habeas corpus.
Minto is challenging his conviction and asking the federal court to release him from custody and vacate his conviction.
In August 2008, a Superior Court jury found Minto guilty of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and solicitation to commit marriage fraud. The case originated in March 2007 after Minto allegedly recruited a U.S. citizen to marry an illegal alien for money.
Minto was sentenced to 90 days in prison with 27 days credit for served.
He appealed. He argued, among other things, that the evidence was insufficient for the jury to find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and that the federal takeover of immigration preempted the Commonwealth marriage fraud statute at issue.
The CNMI Supreme Court has affirmed Minto's convictions.