By Steve Plunkett

    Ocean Ridge officials have an outside attorney standing by to defend them in case former Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella makes good on his threat to sue the town for alleged police brutality.
    Lucibella’s lawyer, Marc Shiner, said fellow West Palm Beach attorney Andrea Amigo represents the town “in anticipation of litigation that has not been filed.”
7960728286?profile=original    Lucibella, 63, is charged with battery on a police officer and resisting the officer with violence, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor count of using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. He has pleaded not guilty; his trial is set to begin July 21.
    Shiner scheduled depositions on June 7 of Police Chief Hal Hutchins, Town Commissioner Steve Coz and Town Manager Jamie Titcomb. The next day he plans to question police Lt. Richard Jones, who handled the department’s internal investigation of Lucibella’s arrest, and current Vice Mayor Jim Bonfiglio.
    Shiner also asked Circuit Judge Charles Burton to bar Amigo from attending the depositions because she is a “nonparty” attorney in the case. A hearing was scheduled for June 2.
    Amigo’s firm was retained by Ocean Ridge’s insurance company, Town Attorney Glen Torcivia said. Amigo, whose legal specialties include government agency liability, declined to talk about Lucibella.
    “We cannot discuss potential litigation,” she said.
    At the commission’s May 22 budget workshop, Bonfiglio spoke of setting aside money for “the Lucibella matter—that’s not pending yet but I know it’s threatened.”
    Shiner has also scheduled depositions for July 11 of Kim Hutchins, the chief’s wife, Mayor Geoff Pugh and police Sgt. William Hallahan, now retired. He will depose arresting officers Nubia Plesnik and Richard Emeri the following day. Hallahan, Plesnik and Emeri went to Lucibella’s oceanfront home Oct. 22 after neighbors reported hearing gunfire. They confiscated a .40-caliber handgun and found five spent shell casings on the backyard patio.
    With Lucibella was one of the officers’ supervisors, Lt. Steven Wohlfiel. Both men were “obviously intoxicated,” the police said.
    During the arrest, Lucibella was pinned to the patio pavers and suffered injuries to his face and ribs. Shiner has said the police overreacted.
    Officers later determined the confiscated handgun belonged to Wohlfiel, who was fired for his role in the incident Jan. 4.  
    Wohlfiel is appealing his dismissal. His position has not been filled.
    Lucibella resigned his vice mayor and town commissioner positions Dec. 7.
    Burton has set aside four weeks for the trial.
Rich Pollack contributed to this story.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Comments

  • "I'm scratching my Ocean Ridge noggin." Yep,  that's perfectly understandable if you're willing to replace the facts in the above article with your preconceived, and perfectly comforting myth and spin.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Unless, of course, you look into the recent Ocean Ridge case of Christian Stewart. Check out the police report, particularly. Looks to me like Officer Ermeri is an absolute magnet for otherwise law-abiding citizens going berserk, without reason, and ending up facing felony resisting charges after a police takedown....this time for "jogging on the wrong police shift".

    Just saying.

  • I'm scratching my Ocean Ridge noggin. This guy behaves badly and the town is again sued by him? I wish this prince not so charming would hitch a ride on a cigarette boat and travel South!!!
This reply was deleted.

Activity Feed

The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 13
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
Jun 5
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 5
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in SOUTH PALM BEACH
Jun 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
May 30
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
More…