BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos County has been served notice of the intention of Michael Novak to file a claim pursuant to the New Mexico Tort Claims Act for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, defamation of character, and acting in violation of his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure of his home as well as infringement of his due process rights prescribed under the State and U.S. Constitutions.
The notice, filed with the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office by Novak’s attorney William Snowden states that Michael Novak was charged with 27 criminal charges by Det. Matt Lyon of the Los Alamos Police Department.
“During the pendency of this matter, evidence was lost, improperly tracked, and accounted for; it is believed that Matt Lyon testified untruthfully at the preliminary hearing, purposefully circumvented a search warrant, by directing officers to search for a phone not articulated in the search warrant, officers failed to follow policy and procedures when collecting evidence. Officers routinely failed to follow the law and LAPD Department Policy, by not utilizing their department issued body worn cameras. These actions were conducted by Det. Matt Lyon at the direction of LAPD as a way “to get Mike Novak locked up” and tantamount to Malicious Prosecution,” the notice said
The notice alleges that spouses of police officers publicly commented on Facebook regarding the case, “all in an attempt to influence and sway public opinion and therefore the potential jury panel”.
“Based on the Malicious Prosecution and Abuse of Process, Mr. Novak spent over a year in the Los Alamos Detention Center, primarily as the only resident, and was therefore deprived human contact. Further, Mr. Novak was exiled to Elephant Butte and placed on a curfew, another example of how his rights have been trampled by LAPD’s Malicious Prosecution,” the notice states. “Finally, Matt Lyon, fancied himself as a human lie detector indicating in his reports he knows based on training when a person is deceitful. At the preliminary hearing Det. Lyon testified that he was a trained expert in detecting human body language and answers, and he was therefore aware that Mr. Novak was being dishonest.”
The notice claims that Lyon failed to take an objective look at this case and failed to actual conduct any thoughtful investigation.
“It is believed that his belief in his own magical abilities to determine a subject’s veracity is directly tied to his LAPD’s desire to ‘Lock Mike Novak Up’ at any cost, including obfuscation of the United States and New Mexico Constitutional guarantees of Due Process,” the notice says.
The case, which started in Los Alamos Magistrate Court,A was transferred to District Court where during a preliminary hearing 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 out of the initial 27 charges filed in Magistrate Court.
The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office dismissed all five charges against Novak on September 11 without prejudice, which means the state reserves the right to re-file the charges in the future. See:
Internal and external investigations are underway for LAPD. Det. Lyon has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigations.