U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona wants to immediately hear the request of a couple who were convicted for harboring an illegal alien to remain out of custody pending their appeal.
Manglona set the motion to be decided on an abbreviated schedule considering that the U.S. Marshal Service has not yet ordered the couple Francisco Muna Tydingco and Lili Zhang Tydingco to report to start serving their prison term but could do so quite soon.
After the Tydingcos were sentenced last Dec. 9, the court permitted them to remain out of custody under supervision pending notice from the U.S. Marshal to surrender to serve their sentences.
Manglona will hear the motion no later than Friday, and the motions will be heard on Jan. 9, 2017 at 3pm.
The couple told the court that their motion for release pending appeal is being unopposed.
The judge said any motion that the U.S. government does not oppose will be decided on the papers.
The judge said if the government files an opposition brief or either motion, the Tydingcos, whose motion is opposed, may file a reply no later than today, Thursday.
Last June, a federal court jury rendered a unanimous guilty verdict finding jurors the Tydingco couple guilty of one count of harboring an alien.
The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Last Dec. 9, Manglona sentenced Lili Tydingco to 10 months imprisonment with credit for time served. She sentenced Francisco Muna Tydingco to 21 months imprisonment, with credit for time served.
Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe appeared as counsel for the U.S. government.
The Tydingcos, through their counsel, appealed, asking the U.S. District Court for the NMI to reverse their conviction and vacate their sentence.
A federal grand jury indicted the couple for allegedly receiving money to harbor two illegal Chinese aliens, including a child they enrolled at a public school.
According to Homeland Security Investigations Task Force officer Jesse Dubrall, the child’s purported uncle, Rongxue Liu, stated in an interview that he paid Lili Tydingco $7,000 in exchange for helping him enter into a fake marriage and obtain a green card.
Dubrall said the parents of the child admitted that they agreed to pay Lili Tydingco between $15,000 and $20,000 to take their child to Saipan and get her a green card. (Ferdie de la Torre)