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Monday, May 21, 2018

A DARK DAY

Lots of breaking news. Check the prior post of the Captain to see your two new county court judges- Elijah Levitt and Ramiro Areces. Congrats to both. 

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality." 
Dr. Martin Luther King

It is 2018. There is no place for racists in our midst, much less on the bench. And yet....


A Miami judge faces suspension for using the word "moolie" to describe an African-American defendant and referring to another man's supporters in court as "thugs."
An investigative panel for Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stephen Millan be suspended for 30 days, fined $5,000 and be issued a public reprimand. Millan agreed to the punishment, which must be approved by the Florida Supreme Court.
Millan, 52, who is of Italian and Puerto Rican descent and grew up in New York City, "readily admitted to his misconduct" and paid to attend racial sensitivity training. Still, the JQC said, suspension was "warranted to demonstrate to the public, and to remind the judiciary, that racial bias has no place in our judicial system."
Millan sat on a bench in the courthouse of the great Judge Ed Cowart. Of Judge Henry Oppenborn who fought as a paratrooper for his country. This is the courthouse where Attorney General Janet Reno had her office as State Attorney. Ms. Reno sent her prosecutors to court every day telling them to do justice and go where the evidence leads them. 
It is a dark day when we learn that in this courthouse  where we all work  and strive to do justice, that a person with repugnant ideas and ideals sat wearing robes in judgment of others. 
Stephan Millian very simply should not be a judge. His ideas darken the doors of our courthouse. He casts a shadow of hate and ignorance that reaches back to a time when courthouses in Miami were built with two water-fountains side by side and multiple rest- rooms to accommodate segregation. 
Millan has the right to his beliefs. He just does not have the right to sit in judgment of any one at any time for any reason on any case. 
It's probably true that Millan feels bad that this has come to light. The question is whether he feels bad about what he said and did? Is there any remedy for  a person who looks at people of color as thugs and demeans them with a dirty racial epithet? 
This is shocking. This is sad. It's a sad day for justice in Miami. 



Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article211618154.html#storylink=cpy

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been before this judge, and I think that he tries, but he really does not have the intellect or the sensitivity to be a judge. His pandering to police officers evidenced a lack of confidence and ability that was pathetic. His constant need to consult other judges and draw upon the services of the court attorneys demonstrated that he had spent a lot of time as a lawyer learning not much law.
In a way, we are all benefitted by the fact that he said it. How about the scores of white jurors who hide their prejudices and then ship young blacks off to prison of the rest of their lives. All of us have to work hard to try to make this place for for everyone. When we see little Black boys holding their mom's hands as they pad their way through the courthouse to catch a glimpse of dad, we should all be motivated to make sure that these little boys aren't padding down those same hallways in orange jumpsuits 15 to 16 yaers from now.
I doubt that the Supreme Court will just suspend this judge. It will probably remove him, and it should.

Anonymous said...

Should we be concerned about Mr. Levitt’s appointment?

Judge blasts federal prosecutors over secret deal that led to spying on defense

Paula McMahon
Sun Sentinel

A bizarre South Florida case involving an indicted fraud suspect who spied on his co-defendants and their lawyers — after secretly making a plea deal — led a federal judge to blast the U.S. Attorney's Office for letting it happen.

After two days of hearings on the allegations against the "mole," his lawyer and the prosecution, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles issued a blistering ruling in court in Miami late Tuesday. He barred the man from testifying against his co-defendants when they go to trial in May and strongly criticized federal prosecutors' "extraordinary" handling of the matter.

"I don't know what's happening at the U.S. Attorney's Office. This is the latest of a series of incidents that is affecting the credibility of this office," the judge said. "Someone has got to look at this thing … There's a problem here that needs to be rectified in some way."

The criminal case began in May 2015 when four men from Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties were charged with running a sweepstakes fraud that prosecutors said raked in about $25 million, bilked mostly from seniors.
...
But Leon and his lawyer, Omar Guerra Johansson, secretly negotiated a plea agreement, which they signed on Feb. 27, records show. Prosecutors, federal agents for the IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Leon and his defense lawyer all kept the plea agreement secret for more than two months.
...
Prosecutors H. Ron Davidson and Elijah Levitt — whom the defense team said they "think highly of" — told the judge that keeping Leon's cooperation secret was essential. Leon worked undercover on a related fraud investigation of Juan Carlos Garcia, 53, of Miami, who was arrested in September, they said.

The prosecutors told the judge, and two agents testified, that Leon was told he could stay in touch with the other suspects and attend a scheduled defense meeting so that the others wouldn't become suspicious and possibly warn Garcia.

The prosecution team said Leon was warned not to ask questions or request evidence from the defense team regarding anything after the May 2015 indictment so as not to invade the legal confidentiality of the defense camp. They said they rejected Leon's offers of texts and a chart they thought might violate defense confidentiality.

But the defense lawyers and other witnesses testified that Leon continued to ask a lot of questions, plot strategy, request defense records and attend more meetings. The judge said the prosecution had to have known, or suspected, what Leon was doing.

Co-defendant Pradel testified that Leon asked for a copy of a chart Pradel prepared for the defense just days before Leon finalized his plea agreement. Information from that chart — including errors and expressions Pradel said he created — soon showed up in memos that federal agents wrote after interviewing Leon, the defense team argued. According to testimony and court records, Leon also leaked other information to the prosecution about possible defenses and evidence. Prosecutors said they told Leon to only give them information he remembered independently from before he was charged.

The defense said it was impossible to know exactly what was leaked when and that prosecutors should have, at least, imposed strict rules on Leon and closely monitored him to make sure he didn't reveal confidential defense information.
....


Anonymous said...

Millan is an idiot. Last year he was recused on some kind of homicide case and returned to watch the retrial while sitting with the next of kin.

Anonymous said...

This was before he confessed to lying about it:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-reg-sweepstakes-fraud-prison-delay-20180112-story,amp.html

In January:

Earlier this week — three days before the men were due to go to prison — prosecutors filed a court document saying they wanted to “correct” the record. They revealed that Leon gave prosecutor Levitt a document that they now believe may have been a chart or timeline — compiled for the defense by Pradel — which they had claimed they never received.

They now can’t find the document, they wrote.

“The government believes that this document may have been the timeline discussed during the hearings, but the government cannot be certain because the document was placed in a sealed file folder without being examined and no federal agent or Assistant United States Attorney has ever opened the sealed file folder and read the document contained therein,” they wrote. “Moreover, Assistant United States Attorney Levitt has exhaustively searched his office’s records but has been unable to locate the sealed file folder with the document.”

Prosecutors, who previously said in court they had rejected Leon’s offer of the chart, also revealed that Leon gave handwritten notes to an IRS agent.

Anonymous said...

Millan is an embarrassment. Dumb with a big mouth. Dangerous combo. Brilliant-let's send him to Juvenile where he can ruin lives early.

Anonymous said...

Repost that craziness with the manslaughter case.

Anonymous said...

I have worked against Elijah when he was a state prosecutor. I found him to be straight forward and honest. I do not know about this matter, but would give Elijah the benefit of the doubt. He is experienced, capable, and honest. A reading of the story does not tar him. On a day when a judge like Judge Millan is having part of the come-uppance that he serves, it ill behooves us to be taking shots at Elijah Levitt. And, my bet is that story will have a positive effect on him.

Anonymous said...

Millan was elected as a judge, but many believe it was a mistake by those voting since he ran for judge during the same time as Alberto "Milian," thereby causing confusion with the similarity of their last names. But Millan is not the only rotten apple in his family....look at his brother who is a cop in Miami Beach...for years he has lied about DUI records.

Anonymous said...

Here’s a link to the docket for the Supreme Court case: http://onlinedocketssc.flcourts.org/DocketResults/CaseByYear?CaseNumber=775&CaseYear=2018

Anonymous said...

I knew Milan before he got elected and seriously wondered if he was up to that job. He struck me as a bafoon. I wonder why the JQC didn’t get into the thing where he tried to make his bailiff fib to make him look good, that’s why Victor now works for Alberto Milian, another flawed bafoon.

If the supreme court knew about that incident, he’d get removed for sure.

Anonymous said...

Elijah good. Millan bad.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe he stayed on the bench after that vehicular homicide case. He was forced to recuse himself because he lied during a hearing to cover for something his loud mouth bailiff did. Then he came and watched the trial when it was retried before DelPino. What kind of dumbass does that?

Anonymous said...

Millan said openly what many judges think privately. Does anyone actually think he's the only one on the bench who harbors some form of animus towards minority defendants? Please. He's simply the only one dumb enough to say it out loud in front of the parties.

White defendants get treated better than black and brown defendants. The data bears this out. Such outcomes can only be the product of bias, be it conscious or unconscious.

Anonymous said...

What 8:35 means is "Thanks, Governor".

Anonymous said...

Levitt resigned as an AUSA after that Sun-Sentinel article came out and he and co-counsel Ron Davidson were removed from all of their cases. I wonder if he disclosed that to the Governor and to the JNC. Apparently OPR found that the government committed misconduct.

Anonymous said...

That misconduct case against Levitt is being handled by D.O.M. Cronin part 2.

Anonymous said...

DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE THE TWO NEW APPOINTMENTS WILL BE GOING? NEVER HEARD OF EITHER. AND MILLAN SHOULD RESIGN BUT THAT WOULD BE THE SMART AND DECENT THING TO DO WHICH HE WONT.

Anonymous said...

Racism? In the criminal justice system in Miami? I'd sooner believe there was gambling at Rick's. Someone should ask the black judges on the Third DCA what they think about this.

Anonymous said...

Why does the Chief Judge allow this judge to go to Juvenile? Juvenile has the youngest and most vulnerable children. Does the Chief not care about children? Why does she keep allowing the worst judges who have problems in REG to go there?

Anonymous said...

What is this about the manslaughter and lying? Do tell.

Anonymous said...

He needs to go to Probate.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Millan go back to the african american bar association(s) and ask for their forgiveness and then ask for their support!!!! He is dumb enough to do just that.....watch and listen: soon he will be telling everyone how his brother in law is black and how he harbors no resentment towards the black community. What a disgrace to the judiciary to have someone like him, continue to be on the bench, regardless of being juvenile or not.

Anonymous said...

Remember the very monster that has now been allowed to fester.
Bite your tongue boys and girls! the anonymous whistle blowing boogeyman might be visiting your chambers next. -Don't fret! With such a wonderful and protective judiciary top brass everyone should feel safe and sound... right?



Anonymous said...

He needs to go ...not as much for the racist remarks but for his imprudence. Judges should be smart, he is not. Hence, the problem with putting up a lot of signs and winning a name recognition/sounds like an ethnicity I can relate to contest.

Anonymous said...

Millan struck me as being very cordial and fair to defendants in general. On many occasions he spoke to them directly and did not appear to favor the state in any way. I think we should direct ourselves to how he dealt with defendants rather than what moronic term he used in private. There are many sons of bitches in the courthouse who actively work to screw over defendants who would never be so careless.

Anonymous said...

Hey JQC, interview his former bailiff!!!!

If demanding that your baiiliff comit perjury to make the judge look good is not acceptable then, Steve needs a new job.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 4:29. I have always found Steve to be a fair and hardworking Judge.

Anonymous said...

FSC is going to hammer him bad. No way he gets a 30 day suspension and a fine. The FSC has been going above and beyond punishments recommended by the Bar and referees. They may remove him altogether. FSC removed a Brevard judge a couple of years ago for getting into a shouting match with a PD. What do you think they are going to do with a judge who presides over black defendants and calls people moolie and thugs? Three year judge with average to below average reviews from the legal community and the judiciary. They have nothing to lose by tossing him.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:29
The sentencing disparity between black and white defendants in public, matches the Judge's private views.

Anonymous said...

He has made attorneys work to assist their clients. He has a big heart regardless of ethnicity or race and strives to do the right thing. With all the Judges in the 11th Circuit, Millan is one of the most thoughtful, just and passionate judges. Sit in the other Courtrooms to see
arrogance,sexism,closemindedness.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the JQC didn't criticize him for being late every day and taking crazy long breaks while the courtroom staff sat waiting for him.

Anonymous said...

No worries there he's already doing that getting down from the bench sitting next to crying parents whispering in there ear then goes back on the bench and take a plea from them. If this is not a disgrace what is. Wait there is more of a disgusting part, the defense attorneys that are before him and allowing this injustice to occur.
How could this be happening????