Diaz gets probation in assault case
by Seth Hemmelgarn
David Munoz Diaz, the San Francisco resident who was acquitted in 2014 of murdering another man during a sexual encounter, has been released from jail again after accepting a plea deal in a case where he was accused of disfiguring a man.
Tuesday, retired Superior Court Judge Donna Hitchens sentenced Diaz, 27, to five years probation after warning him that a violation "no matter how minor will result in a prison term."
Diaz's latest case stems from a November 29 incident in which police said Diaz handcuffed and bit a chunk out of another man's scalp while impersonating a cop. In court documents, prosecutors said that he'd cut and disabled the victim's tongue, put out one of his eyes, and slit his "nose, ear, and lip." Police said both men had been hospitalized after the brawl.
In February, Diaz pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in exchange for assault and other counts in the case being dismissed.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Clark said Tuesday that the victim in the November case is "supportive of this disposition," but Clark said that he wanted to make it "abundantly clear that police, the probation department, the district attorney's office, and the criminal justice system are very concerned about the ability of Mr. Diaz to stay out of criminal trouble."
He said that "particularly after midnight," Diaz poses "a risk to the community," and "his trouble has resulted in injuries to people. We're very concerned."
Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young has attributed Diaz's problems to late night drinking. She's also said that in the November incident, he'd been defending himself.
Hitchens said that Diaz's probation term could be reduced to three years if there are "no new offenses and no violations whatsoever."
Among other conditions, Diaz "must participate in an individualized treatment and rehabilitation plan," comply with a midnight curfew, and wear an ankle monitor "to assure us he abides by the midnight curfew," Hitchens said.
He'll have to wear the monitor for "up to a year," but he may be able to get it removed earlier, she said. She also ordered Diaz to stay away from the victim.
Hitchens ordered Diaz to next appear in court June 16 for proof that he's enrolled in "psychological or psychiatric counseling."
Young said, "Mr. Diaz is very committed to getting counseling and to getting his job back."
In 2014, Diaz stood trial for the June 2011 death of Freddy Canul-Arguello, 23, in Buena Vista Park. During the trial, Diaz testified that Canul-Arguello had asked to be choked during a sexual encounter and that he'd accidentally killed him.
Jurors acquitted Diaz of second-degree murder but convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, among other charges. He was released in September 2014.
In 2015, Diaz was arrested again for allegedly starting fires in the Castro district. He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to possessing an incendiary device and a count of second-degree burglary. He was released in September after being sentenced to a year of mandatory supervision and being ordered to register as an arsonist for life, among other terms.