The Coastal Star

Ocean Ridge: Lucibella trial postponed until end of April

By Steve Plunkett

Standing outside the courtroom, former Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella could not hide his disappointment at having to wait 10 more weeks for his felony trial to begin.
He and defense attorney Heidi Perlet appeared for a calendar call Feb. 20 before Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser, who set a “date certain” of April 30 for the proceedings.
“We were going to get bumped anyway,” Perlet told her client, who is accused of felony battery on a law enforcement officer and two other charges.
“I know that. I was just hoping we could do it in March,” Lucibella responded.
The case of a burglary suspect who sought a speedy trial knocked Lucibella’s original date off the judge’s calendar. Rafael Llovera’s trial took the rest of the week, with a jury finding him guilty of a lesser charge, trespassing, along with battery of the occupant and resisting arrest without violence.
Lucibella’s new trial date is a year and three weeks past the original schedule, which called for the proceedings to begin April 10, 2017.
Lucibella, who also faces charges of resisting arrest with violence, another felony, and firing a weapon while under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor, waived his right to a speedy trial when the lawyers needed more time to question witnesses.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Perlet, a law partner of defense attorney Marc Shiner, said the trial will feature testimony from more than 20 witnesses.
Lucibella was arrested Oct. 22, 2016, after Ocean Ridge police went to his oceanfront home to answer neighbors’ reports of hearing gunfire. They confiscated a .40-caliber handgun and found five spent shell casings on the backyard patio.
He and a police supervisor, Lt. Steven Wohlfiel, were both on the patio and “obviously intoxicated,” the officers said. They later determined the seized gun was Wohlfiel’s.
Lucibella resigned his vice mayor and town commissioner positions Dec. 7, 2016.
His trial was postponed first to July 2017, then October, then February and now April.

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