Ocean Ridge Vice mayor headed to trial on gun, resisting arrest charges

Former Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella will stand trial in April on felony charges stemming from an October incident where he allegedly fired a gun and scuffled with police officer after getting drunk with one of the department’s lieutenants.

Circuit Judge Charles Burton set an April 10 trial date for Lucibella, whose attorney, Marc Shiner, declined to waive his right to a speedy trial in a hearing early Tuesday.

Lucibella, who resigned from office last week, is facing charges of resisting arrest with violence, firing a weapon in residential or public property and using a firearm under the influence of alcohol. He was released from the Palm Beach County Jail in October after posting a $3,000 bond.

According to arrest reports, an Oct. 22 call around 9 p.m. brought police to the 5700 block of Old Ocean Boulevard, north of Woolbright Road, after reports of gunshots. Officers checking the area found Lucibella, 63, outside his home sitting on patio chairs alongside Ocean Ridge police Lt. Steven Wohlfiel, the report said.

Though the report describes both men as “obviously intoxicated,”  an officer said it was Lucibella who became “belligerent and cooperative,” poking an officer several times in his chest and winding up with a black eye by the time he was in custody.

Shiner has since said that the arresting officer in the case used excessive force, and that Lucibella’s injuries also included three broken ribs and a loss of consciousness after the arresting officer allegedly slammed him face first into the ground.

Ocean Ridge Police Chief Hal Hutchins said his office is conducting an internal investigation, but on Wohlfiel, not the arresting officer. Wohlfiel is one of two lieutenants in the department who report directly to the chief. He has been reassigned as the investigation continues.
Lucibella, 63, is the CEO and director of Accountable Care Options, a Boynton Beach-based group of physician-directed organizations.