Judge Mark Tranquilli Charged With 6 Counts Of Misconduct After Alleged Racist Remarks

The Allegheny County judge allegedly called a juror 'Aunt Jemima'

Andrew Limberg
August 12, 2020 - 12:25 pm

Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli has been charged with six county of judicial misconduct after a probe by Pennsylvania’s Court of Judicial Discipline.

Tranquilli was relieved of his duties earlier this year and placed on administrative duties after allegedly calling a black juror “Aunt Jemima.”

The filing means Tranquilli is expected to face trial before the Court of Judicial Discipline and is to be suspended pending trial.

Tranquilli has served as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County since January 2014.

The court says Tranquilli has “violated the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

After the re-trial of Commonwealth v. Lamar Rice on charges of possession with the intent to deliver ended with a Not Guilty verdict, Tranquilli called the prosecuting and defense attorneys into his chambers.

According to a complaint, Tranquilli had and issue with at least three of the jurors.

Concerning one of the jurors, Tranquilli told Assistant District Attorney Ted Dutkowski, “You weren’t out of strikes when you decided to put Aunt Jemima on the jury.”

That juror was a black female who wore a kerchief in her hair during the trial.

Tranquilli also said that when that juror was selected, he knew the assistant D.A. would not be able to convict Rice and added that Dutkowski, “knew darn well that when she [Juror #4] goes home to her baby daddy, he’s probably slinging heroin too.”

The complaint also has additional evidence of misconduct from an August 2015 child custody case.

Both the mother and father is the case were black and the complaint state’s that Tranquilli made statements or words to the effect of: he did not care about the (parent’s) children, his only concern were his own three children, that he was only passing time in the family division until his eventual reassignment to criminal division, that he would “split (the) baby in half like Solomon and sleep like a baby that night,” and more.

Tranquilli also allegedly talked to the parent’s while discussing the issue of communicating between the parties in a dialect described as “Ebonics.”

“And when I say communication, I don’t mean ‘and den da b**** done dis, and den da b**** done dat.”

The complaint also has evidence to several improper comments made at various criminal sentence hearings.

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