Crime - Sacto 911

Lyon video voyeur case faces challenge over evidence seized at his home

Mike Lyon defense attorney questions whether investigators violated his privacy rights.

Real estate titan's attorney says she will challenge video evidence seized in raid of his home.
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Real estate titan's attorney says she will challenge video evidence seized in raid of his home.

Former real estate executive Michael Lyon’s trial on charges that he secretly recorded images of women in his home has been pushed back as his attorney seeks to toss out evidence seized by probation officers more than two years ago.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Goodman on Friday set a trial date of March 30 in the case, but also scheduled a hearing Feb. 10 on motions by defense attorney Linda Parisi to throw out video recordings that were discovered on devices in Lyon’s home at the time of his arrest.

“There are certainly some issues about those devices that will be litigated,” Parisi said in an interview after Friday’s brief hearing. “What we’re saying is whether or not it was appropriate for probation’s search to be conducted in that fashion.

“The U.S. Supreme Court as well as the California Supreme Court have issued some rulings as to what the government can do with digital devices, and those kinds of equipment contain incredible amounts of information, a lot of protected medical history, those kinds of things. There must be specific authority to seize them.”

Lyon faces 16 felony counts of secretly videotaping eight women in his rented Arden Park home, the second time he has faced criminal charges of secretly recording his interactions with female guests in his homes.

The first case began during a bitter divorce and resulted in his arrest in November 2010 related to allegations that he secretly recorded guests and nannies in bathrooms and other private areas of his home. He pleaded guilty in March 2011 to four counts of electronic eavesdropping and made a tearful apology in court. Lyon spent a month in jail and five months under home arrest, then remained on probation as his lawyer sought to end his probation in late 2014.

Instead, authorities say Lyon failed to appear for a Sept. 12, 2014, meeting with probation officers and authorities raided his home on Oct. 1, where they arrested him and his girlfriend, Shannon Lynn Campbell. Campbell was arrested on drug and probation violation charges. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Officials have said they discovered methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs in the home’s master bedroom, as well as video recordings.

Lyon remained in jail on those charges for six months before posting bail, and his case has dragged on through repeated postponements since.

At one point, Lyon’s former attorney, William Portanova, had been in discussions with prosecutors over a plea deal, but the two sides never reached an agreement.

Parisi said Friday that such discussions are premature.

“We need to take it step by step to work through the litigation on the motions,” she said.

Sam Stanton: 916-321-1091, @StantonSam

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