Ocean Ridge's former Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella speaks with his attorneys Heidi Perlet and Marc Shiner following his week long trial. Lucibella was found not guilty of two felony charges, but was convicted of a lesser misdemeanor battery charge. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
By Steve Plunkett
Former Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella was found not guilty Feb. 1 of two felonies but guilty of a lesser charge, misdemeanor battery.
Although Lucibella was cleared of committing battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence, defense attorney Marc Shiner said his client “will keep fighting to clear his name.”
“The jury spoke loudly, loud and clear, that he did not commit a felony,” Shiner said.
Shiner will return to Circuit Judge Daliah Weiss’ courtroom on Feb. 7 to argue for a directed verdict of not guilty.
Typically, someone convicted of simple battery is sentenced to a diversion program and put on probation, he said.
Lucibella and Shiner both said they were “very pleased” with the verdict.
“He can get his license back for a federal firearms dealership, a concealed weapons permit, he can run for public office again, and he’s been cleared of felonies, serious allegations,” Shiner said. “We’re confident the misdemeanor will be cleared up eventually also.”
Lucibella had told the judge he did not want jurors to have the option to convict him of a lesser charge, but the prosecutors asked that conviction of simple battery be an option. The six jurors, all men, spent about four hours deliberating.
The felony charges stemmed from an altercation in Lucibella’s beachfront backyard on Oct. 22, 2016. Town police went to his home after callers to 911 reported hearing “shots fired.” Officers confiscated a .40-caliber handgun and found five spent shell casings on the patio.
An ensuing scuffle left Lucibella handcuffed on the ground with fractured ribs and a cut over his eye. The two arresting officers, Richard Ermeri and Nubia Plesnik, both went to an urgent care clinic afterward complaining of aches and pain.
Ermeri testified that Lucibella poked him in the chest during the investigation, “a forceful poke—like that,” he said, thumping his chest with his finger three or four times.
Shiner said Lucibella taking legal action against the town over the arrest is still possible.
“It’s been an option since Day One,” he said.