Man gets 20 hours for refusing to leave ICE office lobby


U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy has rendered a guilty verdict to a Chinese national who refused to comply with instructions from a federal officer to leave the lobby of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Enforcement and Removal Operations Office in Gualo Rai.

The man initially sought help from federal agents because he wanted his immigration case done and over with.

In a written order Tuesday, Kennedy concluded that the U.S. government has proven beyond a doubt that Cheng Jin committed a misdemeanor by failing to comply with a lawful order.

Kennedy, who presided over Jin’s bench trial Monday, sentenced him to 20 hours of time served in jail and ordered him to pay $5 in court assessment.

Jin was placed on one year of supervised probation with a condition that he is not to stay within 50 feet of the Immigration Office door in Gualo Rai other than his scheduled appearance on Aug. 19, 2020, or as instructed by the Immigration Office.

Kennedy said Jin confirmed that Federal Protective Service inspector Sean Patrick White told him to leave on Oct. 24, 2019, and that he understood but disagreed with the instruction.

Kennedy said Jin confirmed that he was told that he would be arrested for failing to comply with White’s instruction.

The magistrate judge found that White’s directions satisfied the principles of due process, and that Jin willfully refused to comply with the inspector’s directions.

Kennedy said Jin announced that he would continue to refuse to comply unless jailed or provided his requested relief.

Kennedy said it is undisputed that the incident occurred on federal property.

She said both White and Jin testified that the defendant was in the lobby of the ICE-Enforcement and Removal Operations Office in Gualo Rai and just outside the door of the office when taken into custody last Oct. 24.

Kennedy said the command to move away from the door and leave the facility property was clear and given several times.

White testified during the trial that he told Jin to leave the building and issued him a citation ticket for blocking the entrance of the building last Oct. 3.

White testified that last Oct. 24, he ordered Jin to move away from the door at least four times during their hour-long interaction.

White testified that he asked Jin to step away from the door and away from the only walkway providing entrance to the building

Kennedy said White testified that he was called to the Enforcement and Removal Operations office to respond to Jin because he refused to leave the office last Oct. 3 and 24.

White testified that he was the only FPS inspector tasked with patrolling many federal buildings on Saipan.

He testified that had had concerns about the security of the Enforcement and Removal Operations Office and its employees when Jin repeatedly refused to leave.

Jin went to Enforcement and Removal Operations Office on Oct. 3, 17, 23, and 24, seeking humanitarian assistance, although he was not scheduled to report until August 2020.

Jin speaks and understands limited English.

White encountered Jin at the facility last Oct. 3 and 24.

At the trial, assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe, counsel for the U.S. government, called White as a witness and presented four exhibits as evidence.

At the closing of the U.S. government’s case, defense counsel Steven P. Pixley moved for Jin’s acquittal, but Kennedy denied it. Pixley then called Jin to the witness stand and presented two exhibits as evidence.

According to the information, on Oct. 24, 2019, while in federal property, Jin refused to comply with a lawful direction of a federal police officer to leave the premises.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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