By Steve Plunkett
Barring any last-minute motions, the often-postponed felony trial of former Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella will begin Jan. 28 in Circuit Judge Daliah Weiss’ courtroom.
Lucibella, 65, is charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. He also faces a misdemeanor count of using a firearm while intoxicated. He has pleaded not guilty.
Weiss has already ruled that jurors can be told Lucibella’s age despite prosecutor Danielle Grundt’s argument that that detail will only inflame jurors’ thinking.
But the judge will wait until the trial begins to rule on Grundt’s request to limit expert testimony that critiques the police investigation and on whether defense attorney Marc Shiner can argue the search of Lucibella’s home was unlawful.
Police went to Lucibella’s beachfront backyard on Oct. 22, 2016, after neighbors called 911 to report hearing gunfire. They confiscated a .40-caliber handgun and found five spent shell casings on the patio.
An ensuing scuffle left Lucibella on the ground in handcuffs with broken ribs and an injured eye. But one of the responding officers says she was the one injured, and she’s suing Lucibella in civil court.
Lucibella, who has a $10 million umbrella liability policy, is chief executive of a multimillion-dollar Medicare shared savings group and publishes a magazine for gun aficionados.
He resigned from his positions as town commissioner and vice mayor on Dec. 7, 2016, when the State Attorney’s Office filed formal charges.
His felony trial was first scheduled for April 2017, postponed to July 2017, then October 2017, then April 2018, then August 2018, and now January 2019. The original judge in the case, Charles Burton, set aside four weeks for the trial. The case was reassigned to Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser, then to Weiss.