District Attorney’s Office Files Nolle Prosequi, Gives Reasons For Dismissing 2021 Charges Against Michael Novak


Editor’s note: Details in this story may be disturbing to some readers

The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has filed a nolle prosequi in the case of Michael Novak in First Judicial District Court dismissing all four charges against him in a 2021 case without prejudice, which means the state reserves the right to re-file the charges in the future.

The document, filed Sept. 11, states that under a 1972 case, Giglio v. United States, the FJDA’s Office can “no longer utilize the testimony of the investigating officer from Los Alamos Police Department”. The investigation officer or case officer in the Novak case, is LAPD Det. Matt Lyon, who is currently on administrative leave due to investigation of his actions in another case. That case has also been dismissed but with prejudice, meaning charges can’t be re-filed.

“A nolle prosequi is necessary at this time and juncture due to essential evidence in the case that presently requires the testimony of the case agent,” the document filed by Deputy District Attorney Haley Murphy states.

The FJDA’s Office alleges that Lyon collected DNA swabs from Novak as part of the investigation pursuant to a search warrant and that this evidence is essential as testing performed by the Department of Public Safety indicates that “sperm cells matching to (Novak) were present in the child victim’s underwear and male DNA was present on the child’s intimate swabs that were collected during her sexual assault examination”.

Another issue noted is that Lyon performed the extraction of Novak’s phone and is a necessary witness to present the information from the phone.

“The State lacks chain-of-custody and foundational testimony to be able to introduce the phone data at this time,” the nolle prosequi states.

A third issue is that Lyon allegedly gave Novak his Miranda warning and conducted Novak’s police interview by himself.

“Even if the State can lay the foundation for (Novak’s) interview statements absent (Det. Lyon), excising the (Novak’s) statements and playing them on their own would lack context and clarity without (Lyon’s) questions and responses,” the document states.

The initial criminal complaint against Novak was filed by Lyon in Los Alamos Magistrate Court January 20, 2021. It charged Novak with two counts of criminal sexual penetration and two counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor on January 17-18, 2021. The minor had been left in Novak’s care while the mother left town for the weekend.

Novak was released on pre-trial conditions of release that included reporting daily to ore-trial services and having no contact with anyone under the age of 18.

On January 27, 2021, the criminal complaint was amended so that it then included 12 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, 12 counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor, 2 counts of battery and 1 count of intimidation of a witness. The case was transferred to District Court where Judge Jason Lidyard found probable cause to charge Novak with four counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and one count of criminal sexual contact with a minor.

Judge Lidyard also ruled on the state’s expedited motion for pre-trial detention and Novak was remanded into custody at the Los Alamos Detention Center on February 24, 2021 where he remained until March 7, 2022.

When Novak was released from the detention center, Judge Lidyard ordered him to reside in Elephant Butte with his mother and he was to be on house arrest from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Novak was not allowed any contact with minors. He has resided in Elephant Butte since March 2022.

Novak is represented by local defense attorney William Snowden. Several prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office have been involved in the case since its inception in 2021.

To read about Novak’s prior criminal record go to: