A Florida judicial commission just tipped the scales in favor of punishing a judge for racism on the bench.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stephen Millan is facing a 30-day suspension for using racist slurs to refer to a Black defendant and others, as per the recommendation of Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Commission’s (JQC) investigative panel. Millan, 52, a New York City native of Italian and Puerto Rican descent, used “Moolie,” a Sicilian slur short for “mulignan” (which means eggplant) that is used to describe a Black person or someone with a dark complexion. The judge said it in reference to an unidentified Black defendant in 2016. He also called another man’s supporters “thugs” last year, the Miami Herald reported.
The real question, however, may be if Millan, with his turbulent history, can be removed as a judge.
Florida State judges can be investigated for misconduct or civilian complaints, and they can face several forms of punishment including fines, reprimands, suspensions and removal, according to the Florida Supreme Court‘s website. The state Supreme Court must approve JQC’s recommended punishments, including a $5,000 fine and a public reprimand in addition to the 30-day suspension. The judge has reportedly agreed to the punishment.
Millan tried to mount a troubling defense that the Florida judicial commission didn’t buy at all. He blamed his childhood influences, saying that he often heard the slurs used while growing up in New York City, the Herald reported.
The judge joined the bench in January 2015 after handling immigration, criminal defense and bankruptcy cases as a lawyer for 25 years. He was later placed in the criminal division of Miami-Dade circuit court, overseeing felony cases, including those with African-American defendants, after his election.