Ex- Pa. judge barred from judicial office over racist comments

Ex- Pa. judge barred from judicial office over racist comments
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A former judge in Allegheny County, Pa., has been barred from running for judicial office again over past racist comments. 

The Court of Judicial Discipline issued sanctions to former Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli on Thursday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The sanctions come after Tranquilli resigned before facing trial on charges that he engaged in harassment and made racist remarks. 

Tranquilli’s “resignation and pledge not to ever serve as a judge again are binding and irrevocable,” the order says, according to the Tribune-Review


The Judicial Conduct Board hit Tranquill with ethics charges in August over abusive and racist comments made to individuals, according to Law360. Specifically, Tranquilli referred to a Black female juror wearing a headscarf as "Aunt Jemima” and suggested she had a "baby daddy" who was "probably slinging heroin too."

According to the news outlet, he was angry after a partial acquittal in a drug case. 

“You weren’t out of strikes when you decided to put Aunt Jemima on the jury,” Tranquil said, according to Law 360. He also said he knew prosecutors “were going to have a problem” when he saw the woman had been seated. 

Attorneys referred the incident to the Board, according to the Tribune Review, leading to a months-long investigation. The formal complaint alleges six separate misconduct incidents that occurred in family and criminal court. 

Tranquilli was also accused of speaking Ebonics to a Black couple in a custody case, according to the news outlet, as well as speaking inappropriately to other defendants. 

According to the Post-Gazette, he was suspended without pay in August. 

Matt Logue, an attorney for Tranquilli, declined to comment to the Post-Gazette and did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.