and Submitted June 15, 2016 Honolulu, Hawaii
from the United States District Court for the District of the
Northern Mariana Islands Ramona V. Manglona, Chief Judge,
Presiding D.C. No. 1:13-cr-00014-RVM-1
E. Horey (argued), O'Connor Berman Dotts & Banes,
Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, for
R. Backe (argued) and Ross K. Naughton, Assistant United
States Attorneys; Alicia A.G. Limtiaco, United States
Attorney; United States Attorney's Office, Saipan,
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; for
Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Consuelo M.
Callahan and Mary H. Murguia, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed convictions in a case in which the defendant
asserted that she was deprived of her constitutional right to
an independent judiciary because the Northern Mariana Islands
District Court - which was created by statute and whose
judges lack the secure tenure required by Article III of the
Constitution - is not properly established under the
panel explained that the language of 48 U.S.C. §§
1821 and 1822 shows that Congress intentionally created the
NMI District Court and gave it criminal jurisdiction over
criminal prosecutions; that Congress did so based on the
authority conferred on it by Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2
of the Constitution; and that this may well be sufficient to
defeat the defendant's heavy burden of showing that
Congress exceeded its constitutional bounds.
panel wrote that the defendant's challenge to the NMI
District Court's authority fails completely in light of
Supreme Court precedent that has rejected challenges similar
panel rejected the defendant's other challenges to her
conviction in a memorandum disposition.
CALLAHAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Tang Dowai ("Tang"), a native of China, appeals her
convictions for visa fraud, making a false statement, and
conspiracy to defraud the United States. On appeal, she
asserts she has been deprived of her constitutional right to
an independent federal judiciary because the Northern Mariana
Islands District Court ("NMI District Court") is
not properly established under the Constitution. We hold that
Tang was properly tried in the NMI District Court and affirm
came to Saipan from China in 2002 and worked in several
garment factories. When her employment contract expired in
2009, Tang was unable to find another contract employer. In
order for Tang to remain in Saipan, her boyfriend, Shahadat
Hossain (known as Chico), approached Jesse Dowai, a native of
Saipan, and asked him if he would help out by marrying a
Chinese woman. Chico told Dowai he would pay him $500. Dowai
agreed to the proposition and married Tang in September 2009.
Chico was present at the marriage and gave Dowai $500.
the marriage ceremony, Tang and Dowai never lived together
and never spent any time together in the absence of Chico.
Tang's marriage to Dowai made her eligible for an
"immediate relative" ("IR") entry permit
under Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
("CNMI") law, pursuant to which she could reside
and work on Saipan without a contract. Tang secured work as a
cashier in a poker room through November 2011.
time there was a change in the law and Tang's IR status
no longer allowed her to work. She was advised that if she
wanted to keep working she would have to apply for lawful
permanent resident status. Accordingly, she applied for a
green card. Tang's application asserted that she was
married to Dowai and that they had lived together since
was initially indicted in October 2013 in the NMI District
Court. Her motion to dismiss the indictment on constitutional
grounds was denied and a superseding indictment issued on
January 21, 2014, charging her with conspiracy to defraud the
United States (18 U.S.C. § 371), visa fraud (18 U.S.C.
§ 1546(a)), and making a false statement (18 U.S.C.
§ 1001(a)(2)). The jury found Tang guilty on all three
the NMI District Court denied Tang's post-trial motion
for judgment of acquittal and arrest of judgment, she was
sentenced to a term of two years' ...