Brothers get vastly different sentences for Nipomo beating

December 8, 2016
Javier Chang

Javier Chang

San Luis Obispo County Judge John Trice recently sentenced two brothers who were convicted of a gang-related beating in Nipomo. One brother received nine years in prison, while the other received five years of probation. [Tribune]

It was the brother who received the light sentence who is said to have initiated the assault and beaten the victim on the head with a beer bottle. However, the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department argued he should avoid prison because he wants to turn his life around. Probation officials also said the man should be given the opportunity to complete school, even though he reportedly skipped his GED exam and got drunk on the day of the beating.

On Jan. 22, 2015, a Nipomo man, who was not gang-affiliated, was driving in the 200 block of South Oaglen Avenue when a group of men tossed beer on his car. The victim then stopped the car, got out and was assaulted by the men, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff deputies found the victim with serious head and face injuries. Prosecutors said he was repeatedly kicked and punched.

On Sept. 1, jurors convicted brothers Javier Chang, 20, and Noe Chang Leon, 24. Both brothers were convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon — a shoe — and felony aggravated assault, as well as gang enhancements. The jury also convicted Leon of felony dissuading a witness, and Chang later pleaded no contest to another charge of assault with a deadly weapon — a bottle.

A probation department reports states the victim identified Chang as the man who poured beer on his car, hit him with a beer bottle, participated in the beating and displayed a gang sign. The victim said Leon participated in the beating and told him not to call police.

Noe Chang Leon

Noe Chang Leon

However, probation officials recommended that Leon receive the harsher sentence.

On Nov. 29, Trice sentenced Leon to nine years in prison. The criminal gang enhancement accounted for five of the nine years Leon received.

Chang received an eight-year prison sentence, but Trice suspended the sentence at the request of the probation department. Chang will avoid prison if he completes five years of formal probation. He must also pay fines and restitution.

Probation officials recommended Leon receive the harsher sentence due to his lack of remorse for the crimes, as well as his admitted use of marijuana and methamphetamine and because he was on probation at the time of the attack. Leon reportedly told probation officers that he was only protecting his brother and that the driver started the fight.

Probation Officer Diana Hannah wrote in her report that Chang told her the attack occurred on the day he was supposed to take his GED exam. Chang felt he would not pass the test. Rather than taking the exam, Chang said he hung out with a friend and drank straight vodka until he blacked out, Hannah wrote. Chang reportedly said he could not recall the events that led to his arrest.

Hannah wrote Chang said the incident opened his eyes and that he wants to improve his life and make something of himself. Chang also told the officer he would complete his high school education and attend college if granted probation.

Chang had no prior criminal history and had a job at the time of his arrest. Two unidentified individuals also contacted the probation officer to speak in support of Chang.

Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham said he was disappointed in the lenient sentence Change received and that an eight-year sentence would have been more just.

In all, deputies arrested four suspects following the Jan. 2015 beating. Francisco Encinas Mendoza, then 19, was acquitted of all charges he faced. The fourth suspect, Fredrico Lazaro, failed to appear in court and remains at large.

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Let’s US hope this guy thanks his lucky stars and does right. I for one think he is very fortunate.I am fighting a case IN your slo county that has destroyed every opportunity of a NEW life I have in another state.All based on one of your local transients stealing another persons identity.Your DA believes that I stole a persons identity that weighs 188 lbs when I weigh a hearty 98lbs.Now on trial with a a broke down vehicle and all jobs being refused in new state because of slo case and losing my newly contracted PURCHASE of a CABIN to reside in.I am having to WALK a 1530 mile one way trip to California. Like I said,this guy should really consider this a lottery win for actually committing a crime.I was a 52 year resident,a SMALL business owner there and was told I was nothing but a homeless transient with 17K IN the bank,$1.500 in cash on me AND nowhere near any crime OR even the city this crime committed in.I got burned FOR life.

No that I am defending the judge, but does this have to do with him or does it have to do more with Proposition 47 and now 57 that make such violent crimes “non-violent.” It’s absolutely disgraceful that voters don’t read what they are voting for!

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Let’s impeach Judge John Trice.

Thanks to yet another incompetent, ‘soft-on-crime’ judge, our beautiful Central Coast is being allowed to become a dangerous and violent place to live.

Of the four perpetrators of this violent attack on a law-abiding citizen, our government has managed to punish JUST ONE! These gangsters must be laughing out loud at how they have played the system, and we deserve better than a sanctuary city judge who will allow the gangsters to rule the streets.

They both deserve nine year sentences.

Shame on Judge Trice.

Just saying,

Mr. Josey Wales

Probation Officer Diana Hannah should be held accountable if this little thug commits another crime. Equally, she should be recognized if this guy goes to college and turns his life around. I am for holding public officials responsible for the decisions they make, good and bad!

“holding public officials responsible” I know we hope for Christmas miracles but this will never happen. The only chance would be if we got rid of public unions first, though again will never happen with political types that are lifers.

I for one do not have a problem with the professionals making judgement calls on these matters. The lock them all up attitude, with minimum mandated sentences, has resulted in a prison industrial complex that is bankrupting the state.

I want them to spend my money wisely. I am sure the judge takes into account the “body” of work that people like this do, and the older one has had enough time to learn their lesson–but hasn’t. While the other one may have some redemptive value. I don’t know, can’t say, because I am not privy to any details of value as it relates to this case. Neither are you.

Probation officers should have a good idea as to who can be worked with and those who cannot. I don’t want to second guess someone who is obviously better educated and better informed than those reading this article.

It was a probation officer who managed to get that sicko Krebs off the street, so I will go with their gut instinct (an informed one) versus yours.

Maybe you should follow fireman around town and second guess where they are pointing their nozzles? With your help they could have possibly prevented the computer lab from a complete loss.