Woman found guilty of harboring alien files 3rd appeal
A woman who was found guilty in federal court of harboring a foreigner who was a minor has filed her third appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in hopes of overturning the court’s decision against her.
Lili Zhang Tydingco, who was sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the NMI back in January for harboring an alien, has filed her third appeal with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of overturning the court’s decision.
Tydingco, through her attorney, Bruce Berline, filed her appeal last week.
According to court documents, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona sentenced Tydingco last January to 90 days in prison and ordered her to pay a $100 special assessment fee.
Back in July 2022, a jury found Tydingco guilty of one count of harboring a minor alien. That was the third time the case was tried in court.
In June 2016, Tydingco and her husband, Francisco Muña Tydingco, were convicted of harboring a 10-year-old girl they brought from China to the CNMI in 2013. The jury found Lili Tydingco guilty of harboring an alien and Francisco Tydingco guilty of aiding and abetting his wife.
On Dec. 9, 2016, Lili Tydingco was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment while Francisco Tydingco was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.
The Tydingcos then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which remanded their conviction 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 charge against Francisco Tydingco and asked the federal court to dismiss the case against him. But the U.S. government refiled a superseding indictment against Lili Tydingco, charging her with harboring an illegal minor alien.
In September 2019, following two and a half hours of deliberation, jurors found Lili Tydingco guilty of one count of harboring a minor alien. On June 17, 2020, Manglona sentenced Tydingco to 90 days imprisonment.
The defendant appealed that decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which, in February 2022, once again reversed her conviction and remanded the case to the District Court for the NMI.
According to the Ninth Circuit, the district court abused its discretion in admitting a sham-marriage and witness-tampering testimony during the trial.