A Miami judge has been recommended for suspension for using the word “moolie” to describe a black defendant, The Miami Herald reported on Monday.
A investigative panel for the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stephen Millan be fined $5,000, suspended for 30 days and issued a public reprimand after using the slur in October 2016 while discussing scheduling with a defendant's lawyer.
The 52-year-old judge admitted to using the offensive term and agreed to the punishment, which now must be approved by the Florida Supreme Court.
The Long Island native apologized for using the offensive term and claimed it was he said “intermittently as a ‘youngster’ growing up in New York.”
The term is a shortened version of “mulligan,” which is a Sicilian slur used to describe African-Americans or persons with a dark complexion, according to the commission's report on the case. The report said the word “literally translates as ‘eggplant.’”
“It was not unusual for my friends and I to occasionally use slur words when referring to others, including our friends and ourselves,” he told the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
But officials with the independent agency weren't impressed.
“The use of racially derogatory and demeaning language to describe litigants, criminal defendants or members of the public, even behind closed doors or during off-the-record conversations, erodes public confidence in a fair and impartial judiciary,” Judge Kristina Marx, the agency’s chair, wrote in her ruling. “The Commission is unswayed by Judge Millan’s testimony that he gained familiarity with the use of certain racial slurs during his youth.”
Millan, who specializes in immigration and criminal defense cases, is now overseeing juvenile court cases until the status of his punishment is decided, according to the local publication.