By Emily J. Minor and Steve Plunkett
The trial of former Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella will be scheduled a fifth time because Lucibella’s defense attorney, Marc Shiner, has a torn calf muscle.
Lucibella, who appeared in court April 25 but stayed seated and silent during a brief hearing before Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser, will come back May 24 to see if a new trial date can be set. It depends, Shiner law partner Heidi Perlet said, on Shiner’s recovery.
“Naturally, I’m really disappointed,” Lucibella said after the hearing. “All I’ve asked for the past 18 months is my day in court. But my attorney’s well-being has to take precedence for now.”
The jury trial, most recently set to start April 30, stems from charges filed after police came to Lucibella’s Ocean Ridge home around 9:30 p.m. Oct. 22, 2016, to investigate the sound of gunfire.
Three police officers found the vice mayor, who later resigned, and former Ocean Ridge police Lt. Steven Wohlfiel, who later was fired, sitting outside on Lucibella’s back patio.
Officers later said the two men were drinking and that, when they first approached, they saw one of the men with a .40-caliber Glock pistol. Neither man has admitted to firing a gun that night.
The police visit quickly escalated into a contentious confrontation that put Lucibella on the ground in handcuffs. That scuffle, claims Lucibella’s legal team, left the former Ocean Ridge official with broken ribs and an injured eye. But one of the responding officers claims she was the one injured, and she’s suing Lucibella.
Refusing any plea deal from the State Attorney’s Office, Lucibella is going to trial on felony charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence. He also faces one misdemeanor count of using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
When he and Perlet went to Sasser on Feb. 20, the soonest the judge could schedule his trial was April 30, almost 10 weeks later.
His first trial date was April 10, 2017. That was postponed to the following July, then October, then this April and now, perhaps, June or July.