Lili Zhang Tydingco appeals conviction, again

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LILI Zhang Tydingco is  appealing her conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Her attorney, Bruce Berline, filed the notice of appeal on Monday, and said that it is his client’s second appeal in the matter.

On June 17, 2020, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona sentenced Tydingco to 90 days’ imprisonment for harboring a minor alien.

In September 2019, following two and a half hours of deliberation, jurors found Tydingco guilty of one count of harboring a minor alien.

It was the second time she was convicted of the same charge.

In June 2016, she and her husband, Francisco Muna Tydingco, were convicted of harboring a 10-year-old girl they brought from China in 2013.

The jury found Mrs. Tydingco guilty of harboring an alien and Mr. Tydingco guilty of aiding and abetting his wife.

On Sept. 13, 2013, the Tydingcos and their two minor children went to China where they met with the parents of a 10-year-old girl. The couple brought the girl to Saipan and enrolled her in a public school two weeks after arrival.

The girl’s CNMI parole visa expired on Nov. 5, 2013, but she stayed with the Tydingcos until Feb. 19, 2015.

In denying the defendants’ motion for acquittal, Judge Manglona said there was no question that the 10-year-old girl was an alien who remained in the U.S. in violation of federal immigration law; or that the Tydingcos harbored her by giving her shelter in their home.

On Dec. 9, 2016, Mrs. Tydingco was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment while Mr. Tydingco was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment.

The Tydingcos appealed to 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 Mr. Tydingco, and asked the federal court to dismiss the charge against him.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe refiled a superseding indictment against Mrs. Tydingco, charging her with harboring an illegal minor alien.

Berline earlier said that his client would appeal, adding that “if the Ninth Circuit remands it again for the same reasons as last time,” the defense could raise a double jeopardy issue.





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