Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Former model and actor faces extradition to Lake County for trial

LAKEPORT – A former model and actor who last year failed to show up for his trial has been arrested and is facing extradition back to Lake County.

Justin Force Lazard, 43, was taken into custody in New York City while attempting to enter the United States after returning from the Caribbean, according to Lt. Brad Rasmussen of the Lakeport Police Department.

Police arrested Lazard on July 4, 2006, after he was found exposing himself in front of numerous witnesses who were attending a public fireworks display at Library Park, Rasmussen said. Lazard reportedly struggled with officers, who used Tasers to subdue him.

Further investigation led to the Lake County District Attorney's Office filing charges against Lazard, who later donated playground equipment for Lakeport's Library Park, as Lake County News has reported.

Last May he was scheduled to go to trial on misdemeanor charges of annoying or molesting a child under 18, engaging in lewd conduct in public and indecent exposure. However, he failed to appear and the Lake County Superior Court issued a bench warrant for Lazard's arrest, according to court records.

In recent weeks, the Lakeport Police Department had stepped up its efforts to find Lazard, who it made its most wanted person.

Rasmussen said they contacted the police department in Woodstock, New York, where Lazard is believed to have been living, and the two departments were working together to arrest Lazard and have him brought back to Lake County for trial.

“They've agreed to work with us on attempting to take him into custody,” he said. “They were willing to help.”

The district attorney's office in Ulster County, New York, also was working on a fugitive warrant, he added.

Then, as Lazard was coming through US Customs and Border Protection at around 4 p.m. East Coast time on Friday, that agency ran a check on him and found the arrest warrant, said Rasmussen.

“Today was just a fluke,” said Rasmussen. “We didn't know he was out of the country at this time.”

About three and a half hours later, Lazard was turned over to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, where Rasmussen said Lazard was booked on the warrant.

“We had advised the port authority police that we will extradict him,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said Lazard will need to appear in court next week in New York City, where the Queens District Attorney's Office is filing a fugitive warrant. Then he must go to court for identification and extradition proceedings.

Lazard could try to challenge extradition and try to post bail, which is $25,000 just from the Lakeport Police Department's warrant. “In some states they have to go to court and see a judge there before they can possibly make bail,” Rasmussen said.

It's possible that Lazard could make bail in New York, but Rasmussen said that the Woodstock Police might pick him up again.

Now police are waiting for word from the New York authorities about Lazard's status and when he might be ready for extradition. In the meantime, the Lake County District Attorney's Office is preparing a governor's warrant seeking extradition, Rasmussen said.

He added, “Although it's a misdemeanor, it's a serious misdemeanor and we consider it a serious offense in our jurisdiction, and we want him to answer to the charges filed again him, which he's failed to appear for for close to a year at this point.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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