By Steve Plunkett
A jury will decide whether former Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella is guilty of felony battery on a police officer and resisting an officer with violence.
Circuit Judge Charles Burton scheduled the trial to begin at 9:30 a.m. April 10. Lucibella also faces a misdemeanor count of using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
"You'll see this case develop into a lot more," Lucibella's attorney, Marc Shiner, said after the Jan. 10 hearing. "There's a lot of interesting small-town politics in this."
Town police arrived at Lucibella’s oceanfront home Oct. 22 after neighbors complained of hearing gunshots. Officers said they found the vice mayor and one of their supervisors, Lt. Steven Wohlfiel, “obviously intoxicated” on the patio. Officers say they confiscated a .40-caliber Glock handgun and found five spent shell casings on the patio. Police also took a semiautomatic pistol they said Lucibella had in his back pocket.
According to police reports, when officers Richard Ermeri and Nubia Plesnik tried to block Lucibella, 63, from entering the house, he resisted. The officers wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him. Lucibella needed treatment for facial injuries, and Ermeri and Plesnik also required medical attention, according to the reports.
Through Shiner, Lucibella has claimed that he is the victim of police overreaction. He maintains officers should not have entered his back yard in the first place, and then that they used excessive force, cracking three of his ribs. He has not fully recovered, he said outside the courtroom.
"They're healing," he said of the ribs.