A New Jersey lawyer isn’t letting his age get in the way of vigorously defending clients with theatrical flare.
Frank Lucianna, 94, is still going strong, 66 years after he began his legal career. The decorated World War II veteran and Englewood Cliffs resident has defended murder suspects, politicians, thieves and drivers facing DWI charges. His signature style includes raising his voice and emphatically chopping the air with his arms.
“Your Honor, sometimes I wish they would throw all the laws out!” Lucianna said during a soliloquy in which he criticized mandatory sentencing, complimented the judge for being “assiduous” in the pursuit of justice and lauded the “young prosecutor.”
The son of Italian immigrants and a lifelong runner, he said his athleticism has given him the stamina to keep up with the demands of the job. He only stopped running a year ago because of a fractured vertebra.
“This is a very consuming profession and it has taken a lot out of my life,” Lucianna said. “I am constantly involved in preparing cases, and it’s a tremendous strain, both mental and physical. Physical because when you go to trial in a case, your whole being is obsessed with trying to help the person you represent, and it places your body and mind under tension.”
He founded Lucianna & Lucianna in Hackensack where he works with a staff that includes his daughter Diane.
“Physically, we help him,” she said. “Like, he was wearing shoes that were way too heavy. I said, ‘Dad, you need new shoes!’ So we took him to the orthopedic shoe store for a new pair. Little things like that. But mentally, he’s terrific. No one is covering for him.”
Lucianna says he still feels 64 and doesn’t want to retire.
“Florida is inhabited by a lot of old retired people who, if you are living among them, are annoying,” he said.