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YOKOSUKA, Japan — A former Yokosuka Naval Base middle school teacher received a suspended one-year prison sentence Tuesday for growing and possessing marijuana at his off-base apartment in Yokosuka city.

The sentence for Daniel Haley, 36, who was a physical education teacher, will be waived if he does not commit any crimes in Japan for the next three years.

Yokosuka District Court Judge Setsuo Fukushima said he gave Haley the suspended sentence after taking into account that Haley was detained more than two months, lost his job and had no previous criminal record.

“You promised you will never use drugs again and you expressed deep remorse,” Fukushima said through a translator.

Haley was charged March 1 for violating the Cannabis Control Law after police found a marijuana plant and 0.3 grams (about 0.01 ounces) of marijuana at his apartment during a Feb. 9 police raid.

Haley resigned from Yokosuka Middle School on March 10, according to Charles Steitz, the spokesman for Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific.

Haley admitted to the charges during Tuesday’s hourlong trial. He said he regretted what he did and that it was “stupid.”

“I am sorry. It won’t happen again,” he told the judge when he was asked if he had anything to say before the hearing closed.

The prosecutor demanded a one-year prison sentence, saying there is no reason to consider Haley’s circumstances.

Midori Tanaka, Haley’s lawyer, emphasized that the amount confiscated was small and for personal use.

She also read a letter written by the school’s assistant principal asking the court to allow him to go back to the United States considering that he has lost his job and has shown deep remorse.

“The Japanese judicial system was responsible for this case and we must respect its decision in this matter,” Steitz said.

“We do take incidents like this very seriously and have procedures in place to ensure local community leaders that American personnel will abide by the laws of Japan.”

He said all military and civilian members attend a local orientation that includes briefings on their Status of Forces Agreement rights and responsibilities.

Both Haley and the prosecutor have 14 days to appeal the sentence to a higher court.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.
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