Tranquilli faces permanent removal from the bench and other disciplinary actions.By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline has filed charges against Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli.

He is facing six counts of judicial misconduct, most of which concern alleged racially insensitive remarks directed at jurors and defendants.

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Tranquilli was relieved of his duties after allegedly using a racial slur against a Black juror.

“I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone use the term ‘Aunt Jemima’ other than when your report came out and we’re thrilled to hear that there’s some action,” said Tim Stevens of the Black Political Empowerment Project.

KDKA first reported that after a jury acquitted a drug defendant on several charges, Tranquilli is accused of referring to the juror as “Aunt Jemima,” and speculated that her “baby daddy” was probably “slinging heroin himself.”

The report goes on to cite other alleged incidents of Tranquilli using the Black urban dialect, known as Ebonics, from the bench.

The report cites other comments as well, like when Tranquilli told a single Black mother “if you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas” and that she should have supplied the fathers of her two children with condoms: “for the cost of three shiny quarters in any bathroom in any rest stop In Pennsylvania, you probably could have gone in a different direction.”

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In its report, the board said Tranquilli’s actions show “bias, prejudice and harassment,” violate “decorum and ethics” and “bring the office into disrepute” as well as “undermine public confidence.” He now he faces censure, suspension, fines or removal from office.

However, local defense attorney William Difenderfer say he doesn’t believe Tranquilli can remain on the bench.

“When you have a judge, and obviously to be neutral, to be unbiased, to have no prejudice or race, to make the comments that he did with the defense attorney and the district attorney, to me, is in complete violation of his oath of office, and I don’t see the board… I don’t see a path for him being reinstated. I really don’t,” Difenderfer said. “I don’t see how anyone, any citizen, could feel that he wouldn’t be racially motivated, if you will, on making his decision from herein after.”

Tranquilli faces a litany of disciplines, including removal from the bench.

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There was no comment from Judge Tranquilli or his attorney Wednesday but he now faces a hearing in front of the Court of Judicial Discipline, which will decide his fate.