South Florida

Miami judge who used an obscure racial slur resigns from the bench

Circuit Judge Steve Millan used a racial slur in a talk with a defendant’s attorney.
Circuit Judge Steve Millan used a racial slur in a talk with a defendant’s attorney.

The Miami judge who called a black defendant a racial slur has resigned after he faced a forced removal from the bench.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stephen Millan submitted his letter of resignation this week, more than one month after the Florida Supreme Court rejected a proposed 30-day suspension and a $5,000 fine for the misconduct.

According to a report released earlier this year by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, Millan was in his chambers talking with a defense lawyer in 2016 when he called the criminal-court defendant a “moolie.”

The slur is a shortened version of “mulignan” — a Sicilian slur used to describe black people or somebody with a dark complexion, according to the commission’s report on the case. The word “literally translates as ‘eggplant,”’ the report said. The following year, the commission said, Millan also referred to relatives and supporters of a black defendant as “thugs.”

Several prominent black legal organizations called for Millan to be removed from the bench after he used the slur, which he later blamed on his New York City upbringing. Millan was later transferred to the juvenile division.

The JQC recommended the suspension. But last month, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the proposal, meaning Millan was facing a full hearing and possible expulsion from the bench.

His resignation goes into effect on Aug. 3, according to the brief letter he submitted to Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month. “It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Miami-Dade County,” he wrote.