Frederick B. Lacey passed away at the age of 96 recently in Naples, Florida. He served the US as a naval officer, a federal prosecutor, federal judge and independent counsel.
Funeral mass was held on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 9:30 am at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Sea Girt, New Jersey. The burial will be private.
Lacey was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1920. He was the oldest son of Frederick Lacey and Mary A. (Armstrong) Lacey. He had one brother, James R. Lacey. Lacey graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University in 1941. He served in the US Navy in World War II. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During the war, he was introduced to Mary Stoneham, who told her parents she had just met the man she was going to marry. They were married for 61 years until Mary passed away in 2005.
While serving in the Navy, Lacey was accepted to Cornell Law School. He was editor of the Law Review. He graduated in 1948 and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Lacey began his law career working for the Office of the United States Attorney for New Jersey in 1952. Highlights of his career include, successfully prosecuting Harold Adonis, the former aide to New Jersey governor, Alfred E. Driscoll, for evading taxes, obtaining the conviction of Albert Anastasia, an enforcer for “Murder, Incorporated.” Lacey was promoted to First Assistant under US Attorney Raymond DelTufo.
After working in the US Attorney’s Office, Lacey became a partner of the Shanley & Fisher law firm. There, he became known as an excellent trial lawyer. His specialties were aviation law and the defense of medical malpractice claims. While at Shanley & Fisher, he worked for Thomas F. Campion and Raymond Tierney.
In 1969, Lacey became the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey at the prompting of US Senator Clifford Case. While he was a US Attorney, he was able to gather a team of top young prosecutors. Lacey himself successfully prosecuted Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo on extortion and other related charges. After that, the team was able to convict Hugh Addonizio, the mayor of Newark, and other Newark officials and mobsters who were fixing construction bids and receiving kickbacks from the winning bidders. They then convicted numerous Jersey City and Hudson County officials and political bosses for corruption.
In 1971, Lacey became US District Judge. He received the American Bar Association’s highest rating, “Exceptionally Well Qualified.” For fifteen years, he handled thousands of cases including trials of Soviet spies and of terrorists. During that time, he also sat on other federal courts. He was among the first judges appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 1979, serving in that role for six years. He also sat on the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals and occasionally on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
The Chief Justice of the US-appointed Lacey to the Supreme Court Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Later, he would chair that committee. He also chaired the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges. He was a member of the Judicial Ethics Committee of the Judicial Conference of the US and served as an advisor to the UN Conference on Organized Crime in Milan, Italy, in 1985. He taught at the Federal Judicial Center, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and at both Seton Hall University Law School and Rutgers University Law School.
Leaving the bench in 1986, Lacey joined the law firm of LeBeouf, Lamb, Leiby, and MacRae. He served as the court-appointed Independent Administrator of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters where he oversaw the removal of many union officials suspected of corruption and of being tied to organized crime. During the George H.W. Bush presidency, he was appointed as an Independent Counsel to investigate possible corruption of federal employees in their dealing with an international bank in Italy. He was a Special Master, overseeing the congressional redistricting process in New York. He was the court-appointed monitor of Bristol-Meyers Squibb and eventually sought the removal of their CEO. For many years, he served on the NCAA Infractions Committee, Patch reported.
He is survived by his 7 children, 22 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.