A Diplomat's Domestic Violence Case

Posted by Chris Morales on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 @ 10:42 AM

628x471 (1) resized 600Yoshiaki Nagaya, 32, Japan's vice counsel general in San Francisco was arrested in March after his wife told police he had thrown her from a slow-moving car during an argument in a parking garage near the couple's San Bruno apartment, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe reported. 

Yuka Nagaya, said her husband had repeatedly injured her from January 2011 until she went to police, Wagstaffe said. She provided investigators with photos of each injury, the prosecutor said. The couple had just wed in April 2010. 

Nagaya has worked as a liaison in the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco for almost two years and often meets with tech company officials in Silicon Valley, said Michio Harada, deputy consul general. He had not been suspended from work, Harada said.

Nagaya pleaded not guilty in May to 14 domestic violence charges after prosecutors say he stabbed his wife in the hand with a screwdriver and knocked her teeth out during their brief marriage. He posted his $350,000 bail and was set free until further court dates.

In September it was determined by a San Mateo County Superior Court judge that the Japanese diplomat had to stand trial in San Francisco on 12 felony and four misdemeanor counts. Following the preliminary hearing of the prosecution's case, Judge Lisa A. Novak said the evidence is sufficient to hold 33-year-old Yoshiaki Nagaya for trial on nine felony counts of spousal abuse, three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and four misdemeanor counts of domestic violence.

On December 20th, Yoshiaki Nagaya, who had previously denied beating his wife during their two-year marriage, pleaded no contest to two counts of domestic violence while living in San Francisco and San Bruno. The Vice Consul, 33, entered his pleas to the felony charges in San Mateo County Superior Court as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors agreed to drop several other counts, including assault with a deadly weapon.

The plea deal limits Nagaya's time behind bars to a maximum of one year in the County JailIn California, a no-contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea in felony cases. Nagaya will be sentenced Feb. 4. Diplomatic immunity did not apply in this case because Nagaya was not working while he committed his crime.

Garrick Lew, Yoshiaki Nagaya's attorney, who disputes most of the claims made by Yoshiaki's wife, said the relatively light sentence his client will end up receiving reflects that the charges were overblown. The evidence shows the couple, who married after only four months of dating, hated one another and often engaged in “mutual combat,” Lew said.

Video evidence of a police interview with Nagaya’s wife showed that “all their fighting in 2011 was mutual combat,” Lew said. However, the wife’s attorney, who had been translating for her client, did not tell that to police. 

“That is all on video, audio, recorded,” Lew said. He also said the screwdriver was actually a “mini-screwdriver” that both husband and wife used to force open the lock of their home. “They had a practice of locking each other out.” And the knocked-out tooth? Dentists claimed it was most likely from decay, Lew said.

Before he was arrested, Nagaya reportedly had moved into his office in San Francisco to stay away from his wife. She threatened to call police and report him as missing, Lew said. After he went home, Lew said, a shoving match ensued — and that’s when Nagaya went too far. “[Nagaya] did the wrong thing by forcibly pulling her out of the car,” the defense attorney said (SFGate.com).

If you have been charged with Domestic Violence, Assault or Battery, you should contact a lawyer immediately. As a California board-certified criminal law specialist, Attorney Christopher F. Morales has the experience and knowledge to help you beat a Domestic Violence, Assault or Battery charge. In these cases, self defense is almost always a viable defense. These are great cases to fight because an experienced attorney like Mr. Morales can almost always find a winnable defense.

In addition to possible jail time, being convicted of Domestic Violence, Assault or Battery can have a negative impact on child custody proceedings and future job opportunities, and deportation for non-citizens. A conviction can result in a lifetime criminal record visible to any employer who runs a background check. The severe penalties you face make it essential to have a criminal defense lawyer with substantial trial experience fighting for you. 

Call us with questions about domestic violence.

Tags: Criminal Defense, Assault and Battery, felony, Criminal Law, criminal assault, domestic violence, domestic abuse