UM News

Judge reprimands UM law student on national TV

“The People’s Court” Judge Marilyn Milian castigated University of Miami law student Eric Paolino on a TV episode that aired last Monday.

Paolino was the defendant in a landlord-tenant dispute. The plaintiff, Susan M. Murray, who is also a UM grad student, gave Paolino a $450 deposit for one of Paolino’s rooms in his Coconut Grove condo. After seeing the extensive application process, however, Murray rescinded her request and wanted her deposit back.

Paolino refused. The two were approached by People’s Court last spring and both opted to appear on the show.

When Milian told Paolino that he had failed to give Murray enough notice about the application process, he responded, “That’s your opinion.”

Milian became enraged and threw down her glasses before proceeding to reprimand Paolino from the bench.

“No, that’s my ruling, pal, and let me tell you something, Mr. University of Miami Law School,” Milian said, pointing her finger at him as her voice rose. “I taught at UM for many, many years and you, right now, are embarrassing us. You do not show that kind of disrespect, OK? If you don’t like what the judge is doing, then you take it to the next forum but you do not sit here and say, ‘That’s your opinion,’ like a baby, when a judge rules against you.”

The upbraiding continued for several minutes to a rapt courtroom.

When Milian said, “You’ve got a lot to learn about what it means to be a litigator and a lawyer,” Paolino replied that he didn’t want to be a litigator.

“Good,” said Milian, “because you don’t have it in you. You have a lot to learn what it means to be a member of the Florida bar. I don’t care what you think of me, but you have to respect the process. And if there’s anybody who I expect to respect this process, it’s a second-year law student at the University of Miami,” Milian said, punctuating her words by banging her fist on the bench.

She ended her diatribe by ruling in favor of the plaintiff before sweeping from the silent courtroom.

“I felt like I was on a Jerry Springer show. I did not feel like I was in a court of law,” Paolino told The Miami Herald. “I just hope my reputation isn’t permanently shot.”

-By Kelly Herson


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