Probationer seeks to be allowed to travel


A former notary public who is on federal probation filed yesterday a motion before the U.S. District Court for the NMI to allow him to travel again to California for business purposes after the U.S. Probation Office denied his request for allegedly being argumentative and for buying a plane ticket prior to getting approval.

Liang Li, through counsel Bruce Berline, asked the court to allow him to travel to California from April 10, 2019, to no later than May 1, 2019, to buy automobile parts and other business-related supplies.

Li works at U-Save Car Rental, a business on Saipan that deals in automobiles.

Berline said the U.S. government has no objection to this.

U.S. probation officer assistant Juanette David-Atalig informed the court that she learned when Li reported to their office last April 1 that Li had already purchased an airline ticket before even submitting a travel request with the U.S. Probation Office.

She said she reminded Li about the instructions to first make a travel request and only when that request is approved can he buy his ticket.

Li explained to her that he already purchased a ticket because the airline seats were limited.

David-Atalig said Li then asked her why she was “being too difficult” and that Li became “contentious, argumentative, and refused to listen.”

The following day, April 2, Li met with David-Atalig again in the U.S. Probation Office, and was told of the decision to deny his request to travel. Li was told he could ask the court for consideration.

The probation officer said Li became upset and difficult to talk with.

Last September, the court sentenced Li to two years of probation and six months in home detention, after he pleaded guilty to lying in a U.S. passport application.

In Li’s request for travel, Berline said the home detention, along with electronic monitoring, will end tomorrow, Saturday.

Berline said the terms of probation/supervised release includes a provision preventing Li from leaving the CNMI without permission from the U.S. Probation Office or the court.

The lawyer said Li requested permission to travel from U.S. Probation Office but was denied as being untimely because he was allegedly argumentative and because he bought the ticket prior to getting travel approval.

Berline said the court previously allowed Li to travel to California last November during his period of home detention for similar business reasons.

Berline said Li returned from California without incident.

“This request is reasonable as it is in furtherance of defendant’s employment,” he said.
Li, 35, is a U.S. citizen.

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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