Tuesday, May 29, 2018


The pressure on Judge Stephen Millan to resigned intensified over the lead up to the Memorial Day Weekend when the Wilkie Ferguson Bar Association published this letter.

That was soon followed by a remarkable letter to the Florida Supreme Court  calling for Judge Millan's removal  signed by the heads of many minority legal associations including the National Black Prosecutors Association, T.J. Reddick Bar Association, Gwen Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, Haitian Lawyers Association, and the F. Malcom Cunningham Sr. Bar Association. 

It can be lonely when you use ugly language to espouse repugnant ideas. 
But ideas and language are one thing. Actions are another. 

Enter the Herald Tribune's report and analysis on racial disparity in sentencing in Florida. The report had these disheartening findings about Judge Milan:

First Degree Felonies: a 93% disparity in sentencing between white and black defendants-meaning black defendants received an average sentence of 8,410 days while white defendants received an average sentence of 4,355 days. 

Burglary: This one is shocking. Black defendants received on average a sentence of 1, 718 days, while white defendants received a sentence of less than half- 619 days. That is a disparity of 149%. 

To be fair the report showed no disparity between sentences for felony DWLS cases, and a slight disparity for the crime of robbery in sentencing white defendants to 4,423 days in prison while black defendants  received an average sentence of 4,130 days, a negative disparity of 7%. But in every other category analyzed, Milan overwhelmingly sentenced black defendants to significantly more time in prison than white defendants for the same crime. 

There may be an explanation for this disparity. But when you refer to black defendants as "moolies" and call their families "thugs", the explanation rings hollow.
Call it Williams Rule if you will. A pattern of conduct that undermines the defense. 

 This small but sordid episode in the REGJB reminds us that for civil rights, for women's rights, for the rights of people everywhere to be treated as individuals regardless of their race or sex or economic status, there is still work to be done. 

Racism is insidious. It slips into every unseen crack, flowing like dirty water and infecting the foundations of our society. A snide comment here- a knowing glance there. A quiet nod between people who share the same racists ideas.  The price we pay for freedom is eternal vigilance.

This one is a no-brainer for the Florida Supreme Court. Either they remove Judge Millan or they brand Florida as a State that will tolerate racist Judges. 

If ABC can cancel their top-rated show because of the racist tweet of Roseanne Barr- who is nothing but a dimwitted comedian, then the Florida Supreme Court can remove a judge who sits in judgment of others. 

As we have repeatedly said recently, fight the power- which in this case is the ideas of racism and intolerance. 

There may be another side to this story. People can make a misguided comment. If Judge Millan or anyone authorized on his behalf wants to submit the other side to this, or an explanation, we will publish it unedited as a post on the front of the blog. 


Aristotle said...

When will people learn about statistics? If rump is tricked, us mere mortals are all doomed.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the allegations of multiple attempts at ex parte contact and denial of several recusal motions. This guy is an embarrassment to our profession. If he had any honor, he would resign.

Anonymous said...

For the other side of the coin (not my personal opinion, but one that I did hear from a defense bar member):
1. IF Judge Millan did not realize that this slur is as bad as it actually is because he was raised (per his own words) in a home which condoned such language, AND
2. IF Judge Millan accepted responsibility for the use of such slur and did not blame "others" in his chambers for saying such slurs..... then he deserves a fair reprimand and a fair shot for keeping his position, and
3. let the voters decide in the next election whether he deserves to retain his seat or not.

Anonymous said...

Are those statistics for sentencing after trial, after plea or all lumped together?

Anonymous said...

30 years ago or so, a Dade Judge lost his seat on the court for saying"Schwartza" in a Civil Wrongful Death case.

Anonymous said...

9:58-I would agree if not for his constant lunacy and inefficiency in running his court. He is simply better suited for a different job.

Anonymous said...

We all have to draw the line somewhere.

Hey to my Jewish friends I ask this? What if it was Jews he was insulting?

When a judge is really good and makes a mistake, owns up, sincerely apologizes and begs for forgiveness, I can see us jumping on that band wagon but, this guy was an idiot on the criminal bench.

Good bye Steve.

Anonymous said...

Good point on clarification of the statistics data.I believe Millan fate ought to be decided by the voters.

I saw extreme rudeness yesterday to a black member of the bar by an especially rude jurist whom no one sees fit to criticize maybe because he is so rude to ALL who appear before him.You all know exactly who I am referring to!

Millan would never treat anyone that rudely. He is a bit unpolished but he is not a bad guy.
I hate to see Steve made a scapegoat. However, Trump is someone who truly deserves to be removed from office.

Anonymous said...

Do those statistics account for priors? Sentencing guidelines? Percentages of defendants?

Anonymous said...

Judge Millan allowed his personality to fill the division. His personality, in case you didnt know, was of New Yawk wise guy, cutting through the legalese, lets-be-real-here-folks, etc.

He ran a loose ship because of that. I tried a case where he repeatedly talked to the jury outside the presence of the lawyers. He'd be in the hallway in his robes, saying stuff like "youse guys want any coffee?" etc. Nothing malicious, but still a loose ship.

His bailiff was the nicest guy around, but also loose. Saying stuff to juries that should not be said. "If I was in deep trouble, Id hire that defense attorney. Great lawyer, ain't he?"

They were so eager to make small talk and be personable and not seem like over officious lawyers, that they doomed the division.

It is in this context that I can imagine Millan saying the "moolie" comment. And I can attest, if you grew up in New York in the 70s and 80s, you used shorthand for ethnic groups. I'd bet half the people outraged by the comment grew up in a neighborhood that was almost entirely white, entirely black or entirely hispanic. New York isnt like that. There's simply not space for that in New York. We had seventy ethnicities on top of each other.

New Yorkers, at least in those days, let you know if you were Italian or Puerto Rican or Dominican or black or Irish or Chinese or Jewish, and those were NOT the words anyone used.

So Millan was being himself. Not hateful. Not racist. But just a New York guy from that era.

His flaw was running a division so loose he felt he COULD be himself. Whatever lawyer snitched on him was obviously someone the judge felt comfortable around. He should not have. He will now lose this job.


The Captain Reports:

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A proposed rule change that would delete the current prohibition against charging a service charge for a client’s use of a credit plan and allow lawyers to charge the actual amount imposed on the lawyer by the credit plan was approved by the BOG. Rule 4-1.5(h) currently permits lawyers to accept credit cards to pay for fees and costs but prohibits lawyers from charging the client the credit card fee charged to the lawyer as a vendor. The Supreme Court of Florida must approve the rule change.

CAP OUT .......

Anonymous said...

Milian is not worse than most of the Judges sitting on the criminal and civil . He is probaly in the top 50% which doesn't say much for our bench. And its getting worse with another inexperience neophyte who has never tried a jury trial or have much court experience like Ramiro Areces. AS unqualified as his Amway selling mother.

He's gotta GO! said...

9:58 A.M.:

It makes no matter that he was raised using that term around the dinner table, on the street, in the playground and... In fact, in his 40+ years of life if he hasn't figured out that it's racist and wrong he's too stupid to sit in judgment of others.

Bobby: "One thing I know, he can't be in our social club no more, that much I do know"
Carlo: "Social club? He's gotta GO!"

Anonymous said...

And the FADCL-Miami Chapter leadership says:..........

Joe Blow said...

Rump please answer the following questions:

Milton Hersch 33% disparity drug possession--racist?

De la O 119% disparity first degree felonies--racist?

Ruiz 275% disparity first degree felonies--racist?

Arzola 289% disparity robberies-- racist?

Fajardo 203% disparity on driving wo license-- racist?

Glick 227% disparity first degree felonies-- racist?

Does this "tool" from the herald account for prior crim history? If you dont know, why would you promote it?

I have no idea about this milian character, but is your claim that he is systematically punishing blacks with higher sentences warranted?

Anonymous said...

So just increase your fee by $50 and don’t worry about the credit card fees..

And it will be no loss to see Milian go. Calling someone a thug is fine. The courthouse is full of them. Some white, some black, some Hispanic, some lawyers, some prosecutors, etc. but “moolie?” Thats some old school racist shit I haven’t heard in years

Anonymous said...

The man did self-report. If I could fashion a penalty for him, I would keep in mind that he has five kids, that he was cow-towing to the state which many new judges do. I think he needs to spend about two years in County Branch Court to get a feel for the community, get some counseling, and then be allowed to return.

Anonymous said...

I jumped to the website with the sentencing stats. When I saw Lenny Glick and Vicky Brennan on there, I knew it was going to be ugly. Boy was it ugly.

Anonymous said...

I just find it comical that everyone writing may or may not be accurate on their view of Millan, but the one thing they are not accurate is the person they are accusing. Even if you mean Millan others will write Milian which is another judge on the bench.

Joe Blow said...

"Burglary: This one is shocking. Black defendants received on average a sentence of 1, 718 days, while white defendants received a sentence of less than half- 619 days. That is a disparity of 149%."

149% is peanuts. Freeman wins the disparity contest with a 1410% disparity for robbery.

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Anonymous said...

The poster at 11:28 came in here and commented the most accurate account of Milian's courtroom.

Anonymous said...

Okay - I did not want to comment because the guy does deserve credit for admitting what he did, and I am no fan of kicking a guy who is down.

But, I was in that court enough to see that he does not belong on the bench. The racist comment just solidifies that belief. I actually told a client to hire another lawyer on a good case that fell to the division because I was so disgusted by what I had previoulsy witnessed from the bench.

A long time ASA sat in the court and wondered aloud what the fuck he was doing. He was rude to defendants, particularity black defendants whose lawyers were not present. He was condescending, and not smart. Being folksy is one thing - having demonstrably poor judgment is totally different case.

I don't know if he truly is a racist or not. He said what he said. But that kind of talk cannot be tolerated from people on the bench. Every black defendant he has sentenced has an absolute right to question whether or not they were treated fairly by him, and that in an of itself is a reason to remove him.

How can the public have confidence in the judiciary if somebody who says those things is permitted to remain? They cannot, and they should not. All of the judiciary is severely tarnished as long as he is permitted to remain in a robe. In truth, if he is a decent person, he should show it and resign. Commit to doing pro bono service for Black defendants to atone, and then run again if he so chooses at some distant time.

It is nonsense to say he should remain and let the voters decide - that is a slap in the face to every other judge on the bench. His colleges have an obligation to make it know to him that he needs to step up, and step down.

Anonymous said...

Look at Orlando Prescott giving white kids longer sentences than black kids in nearly every category, and at an age when priors are negligible.

See how this game is played?

Anonymous said...

Why the hollering? Millan is a not a bad guy. He is a good guy who made a stupid mistake. Let’s not forget Jeri Beth Cohen and her send all the Cubans back remark. Where were all who now complain when that happened? No difference between Cohen and Millan. So why the disparate treatment? Many who now express outrage about Millan were protecting Cohen. Talk about hypocreaceae. Protecting Cohen was racism and bigotry disguised as compassion, plain and simple. Many silently embrace the anti-Cuban anti-Latino sentiments embodied in Jerri Beth Cohen’s statement. The success of so many Cubans or Latinos is an irritant to many who suffer it in silent. Every non-Hispanic judge fears a Hispanic opponent and the elite recent it. This makes it is easy to excuse Cohen while condemning Millan. Do not fool yourselves, the underground racist and bigots are entrenched in the system and protecting each other. Jeri Beth Cohen is mean spirited and claims intellectual superiority. Millan is not mean spirited and makes no claim to intellect. His his mouth is often in gear before his brain catches up. Key factors in judging the situation fairly. We should concern ourselves more with the closet racist and bigots who protected Cohen rather than a foolish comment by someone we all know is average at best.Those who protected Cohen now protect other racist judges with issues but no one seems outraged about a philandering judge or alcoholic judge because they are of a superior race. There is no difference and no excuse, regardless of ethnicity or race all interpenetrate, racist, philanderers and alcoholics should be removed from public service.

Anonymous said...

So....according to you, a racist remained in the bench, so milian should be permitted to stay too?

When you were little, did the excuse..."but he _____ too" work for you?

Or, is your point that calling Blacks a racist word really isn't racist if the judge is too stupid to know better?

Your resentment of Jews is seething and apparent, and demonstrates complete ignorance of the relationship Jews and various minoritites, including Hispanics have enjoyed...I feel very sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

11:28. Seems Millan should be in charge of hospitality on a cruise not judging people's lives.

Anonymous said...


Your jaundice comment ignores the thrust of the complete comment you criticize. The point being that all those who now express outrage with Millan remained silent or expressed no similar outrage when Jerri Beth Cohen engaged in identical conduct. Perhaps there are those who recall Eleanor Shockette's anti-Cuban comments, again without inciting any significant outrage from other than CABA. Considering Cohen's conduct occurred while in the juvenile division, her conduct deserved similar, if not enhanced outrage and sanctions to those of Millan. The point is disparate treatment of two equally situated individuals who engaged is similar offensive conduct. As the theme goes, I steal a nickel she steals a dime, I do the time she writes a book. Your comment signals the fact that those who defended Jeri Beth Cohen and minimized her racist and mean spirited statement are still among us. The only resentment in the comment is the disparate treatment among similar situated individuals, and the resentment that they are not ALL removed from public service. In the event you do not understand, Jerri Beth Cohen should not be on the bench and neither should Millan, and neither should the philanderers and alcoholics.

Now go hence and continue to defend the likes of Jerri Beth Cohen, the philanderers and alcoholics on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Some alcoholic judges have been way better than some sober judges.

Anonymous said...

Millan is a good man. His wife and 5 boys are no doubt suffering quietly because of this. He made a mistake and admitted it. I do not believe he is a racist.

Anonymous said...


Speaking about judges where are your updates regarding the
Judicial Elections. The PBA just announced their Endorsements.

Very important you follow up on this judicial elections.

Thank You