Marilyn Milian

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Marilyn Lucille Milian
Marilyn Milian by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Milian in 2016
Born (1961-05-01) May 1, 1961 (age 60)
Manhattan, New York City, US
Alma materUniversity of Miami (B.S.)
Georgetown University (J.D.)
OccupationTelevision personality, lecturer
EmployerHarvard Law School (1989–1990)
University of Miami (adjunct faculty)
Known forThe People's Court (2001–present)
Spouse(s)John Schlesinger

Marilyn Milian (born May 1, 1961) is an American television personality, lecturer, and retired Florida Circuit Court judge who presides over the American courtroom television series The People's Court. She is the first Hispanic arbitrator to preside over a court show.[1]

Milian became the presiding judge on The People’s Court during the current edition's fourth season in 2001, replacing Jerry Sheindlin, and has been with the program ever since; she surpassed Joseph Wapner, the original presiding arbitrator, during the 2012–13 season as the longest serving judge across the entire history of the series.[1]

Early life[edit]

Milian was born in Manhattan to Cuban parents Jorge, a general contractor,[2] and Georgina Milian.[3][4] She spoke Spanish before learning English and is fluent in both languages.[5] The family moved from Astoria, Queens, to Miami when she was eight years old. She graduated from St. Brendan High School.[3]

Milian earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Miami. She then attended Georgetown University Law Center, earning her J.D.[4] She spent a year working at Harvard Law School, where she served as director of training for the Guatemala Project. She was responsible for training the Guatemalan trial judiciary, defense, and prosecution bar in investigatory and trial techniques.[4]


Legal career[edit]

Milian was appointed assistant state attorney for the Dade County State Attorney's Office by Janet Reno, who was then the county's state attorney. After ten years in that position, she then worked for the Miami County Court, serving in the domestic violence, criminal, and civil divisions.[4] In 1999, Florida governor Jeb Bush appointed Milian to the Miami Circuit Court, where she served in the Criminal Division.[4][6] In 2001, she replaced Jerry Sheindlin as judge of The People's Court, and became the first Hispanic judge on any English-language television court show. Milian is listed as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Miami School of Law, teaching litigation skills.[7]

The People's Court[edit]

Milian serves as presiding judge in the second life of the courtroom show The People's Court, the first arbitration-based reality court show and the second-longest running court show in history. Milian has presided over the program since spring 2001, which was late in The People's Court's 17th season (or fourth season of the revived version of the show).

The People's Court has featured several arbitrators, with Milian currently holding the title of the longest-presiding arbitrator over the series. By completion of the show's 28th season (2012–13), Milian had completed twelve and a half seasons presiding over the program, officially making her the longest-running judge on The People's Court. Joseph Wapner, the show's original judge, was the previous holder of this record. By spring of 2021, she reached 20 years as presiding judge over the program.

In contrast to The People's Court's previous arbiters, Milian is considerably more animated in her role,[8] but she's also known for being levelheaded and logical in her observations and handling of the cases.[8][9] Although engaging for the most part,[10] Milian also dishes out a good-natured, lively sass at the litigants and does not tolerate any disrespect from them.[1][11]

Milian explains Americans' fascination with the court show genre: "We are a fast-food nation. People love to see resolution, they want to watch someone who has done wrong confronted and see justice prevail … all in an hour."[12]

Milian was portrayed by Cecily Strong in a 2017 Saturday Night Live parody of The People's Court where she presided over a case between President Donald Trump and three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Milian is married to John Schlesinger, a former assistant United States attorney, who in 2004 was elected to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Florida, the same position that Milian held before retiring to The People's Court. They live in Coral Gables, Florida, with their three children. She travels to Stamford, Connecticut, bimonthly for three days of taping of The People's Court.[citation needed]

Milian is the spokesperson for the FBI's Safe Online Surfing (FBI-SOS)[14] campaign. In 2019, she appeared on the daytime version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?, winning $5,000 for Camp Fiesta, a Florida summer camp that is free for children with cancer.

Television credits[edit]

Year(s) Title Role Notes
2001–present The People's Court Herself
2002 As the World Turns Judge 3 episodes
2007 George Lopez Judge Alvarez 2 episodes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The People's Court | Judge Milian". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "Sewage Backup Blowout". The People's Court. Warner Bros. Entertainment. January 9, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Diaz, Johnny (December 28, 2001). "Verdict's in on Milian's first year on 'People's Court'". The Journal Times. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Ogunnaike, Lola (July 2, 2006). "Don't Mess With the People's Judge, Marilyn Milian". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  5. ^ "Marilyn Milian". Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  6. ^ Rapacciuolo, Anthony (April 2016). "Living the Dream at The People's Court | New York Lifestyles Magazine". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  7. ^ "University's of Miami - School of Law". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Marilyn Milian's "People's Court" moves to WSFL - Sun Sentinel". August 27, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  9. ^ "The People's Court | Judge Milian". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
  10. ^ "Tube Talk 19, "The People's Court"". Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "University of Wisconsin- Whitewater | Handbook". Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  12. ^ "Marilyn Milian Biography". Fordham University School of Law. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  13. ^ McGee, Ryan (February 12, 2017). "Alec Baldwin on 'SNL': 3 Sketches You Have to See". Rolling Stone.
  14. ^ "FBI — New Cyber Safety Website for Teachers, Students". Retrieved October 16, 2012.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Jerry Sheindlin
Judge of The People's Court
March 12, 2001–present
Succeeded by