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Frederick B. Lacey


1920 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Frederick B. Lacey Obituary
Frederick B. Lacey

AGE: 96 • Formerly of Sea Girt

Frederick B. Lacey, formerly of Sea Girt and Glen Ridge, New Jersey, passed away peacefully in Naples, Florida on April 1, 2017. As a true patriot, he served his country as a naval officer, federal prosecutor, federal judge and independent counsel. He was 96.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at O'Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Rte. 35, Wall, New Jersey. A funeral mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at St. Mark's Catholic Church, 215 Crescent Parkway, Sea Girt, New Jersey. Burial will be private.

Judge Lacey was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1920, the eldest son of Frederick R. Lacey and Mary A. (Armstrong) Lacey and brother of James R. Lacey. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University in 1941. He proudly served in the United States Navy during World War II, where he ascended to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. It was during the war that Judge Lacey's friend and superior officer, Jack Leonard, introduced Judge Lacey to Mary Stoneham, the love of his life. The feeling was mutual. On the day of their meeting, Mary told her parents, "I just met the man I'm going to marry." Frederick and Mary Lacey were married for 61 years until Mary's passing in 2005.

While still active in the Navy, Lt. Commander Lacey was accepted to Cornell Law School. He was Editor of the Law Review and graduated from Cornell in 1948 with the academic honor of being elected to the Order of the Coif.

Judge Lacey began his career as a crime fighter in the Office of the United States Attorney for New Jersey in 1952. During his tenure, he successfully prosecuted Harold Adonis, a former aide to New Jersey Governor Alfred E. Driscoll, for tax evasion. He also obtained the conviction of Albert Anastasia, a known enforcer of the infamous "Murder, Incorporated." Judge Lacey was then promoted to First Assistant under U.S. Attorney Raymond DelTufo.

After his first stint in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Judge Lacey joined the law firm of Shanley & Fisher where, as a partner of the firm, he gained a reputation as an excellent trial lawyer. He specialized in aviation law and in the defense of medical malpractice claims. It was at Shanley & Fisher that Judge Lacey worked with two (2) of the finest attorneys in the State, Thomas F. Campion and Raymond Tierney.

In 1969 Judge Lacey began 17 continuous years serving the state and country he loved so very much. Months prior, U.S. Senator Clifford Case, lamenting the "stench" of corruption that permeated every level of government in the State of New Jersey, had convinced Judge Lacey to leave private practice and become New Jersey's top federal prosecutor. As U.S. Attorney, Judge Lacey assembled a team of talented young prosecutors who were their generation's "Untouchables." They were led by First Assistant Herbert J. Stern and Chief of the Criminal Division, Jonathan L. Goldstein. Judge Lacey personally set the standard for the office, successfully prosecuting Angelo "Gyp" DeCarlo (the same "Gyp" DeCarlo depicted in the movie "Jersey Boys") on extortion and related charges. There followed convictions of the Mayor of Newark, Hugh Addonizio, and various Newark city officials and mobsters who had conspired to fix construction bids and to take "kickback" payments from the winning bidders. Those convictions were followed by the indictment and ultimate convictions of numerous Jersey City and Hudson County officials and political bosses on corruption charges.

U.S. Attorney Lacey became United States District Judge Lacey on September 2, 1971. The American Bar Association gave him its highest rating, "Exceptionally Well Qualified." He served in that capacity for 15 years, handling thousands of cases and overseeing the trials of convicted Soviet spies and terrorists. During the same period, Judge Lacey also sat on other federal courts. He was among the first judges appointed to the new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 1979 where he served for six (6) years; he sat on the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals; and he periodically sat by designation on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The Chief Justice of the United States also appointed Judge Lacey to the Supreme Court Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure where he later served as Chair. He also served as Chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges, he was a Member of the Judicial Ethics Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and he served as an Adviser to the United Nations Conference on Organized Crime in Milan, Italy in 1985. He frequently taught at the Federal Judicial Center, the training ground for federal judges, as well as at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. During his 15 years on the bench, Judge Lacey also taught Civil Trial Practice and Evidence to many hundreds of law students at both Seton Hall University Law School and Rutgers University Law School.

In 1986, Judge Lacey left the bench and joined the law firm of LeBeouf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae, where he handled many interesting cases and continued his public service. For several years, he served as the court-appointed Independent Administrator of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, overseeing the removal of scores of union officials suspected of corruption and having ties to organized crime. He was appointed Independent Counsel during the George H.W. Bush Administration to investigate possible corruption by federal officials in their dealings with an international bank based in Italy. He was a Special Master who oversaw the congressional redistricting process used in New York. Between 2004 and 2008, he served as the court-appointed Monitor of Bristol Meyers Squibb, ultimately seeking the removal of its chief executive. He also served for a number of years on the NCAA Infractions Committee.

Judge Lacey, known affectionately to his family as "Granddad," loved spending time with his grandchildren, telling them stories and teaching them old Irish songs and poetry. He was an avid reader. He also loved sports, especially the New York Yankees and New York Giants, and annually attended the NCAA Basketball Final Four tournament for more than two decades.

Judge Lacey will be greatly missed by many, most especially his seven children, Fred Jr. (Helga), Jim (Barbara), Virginia, Bob (Teresa), Mary, Kathy (Brad), and John (Suzanne), 22 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

For more info & condolences, visit www.OBrienFuneralHome.com.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Apr. 7, 2017
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