PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli, who was accused of making racially insensitive comments, has resigned before his misconduct trial.
Tranquilli’s attorney Matt Logue confirmed the news to KDKA on Tuesday. Logue was representing Tranquilli in his misconduct trial set to start on Wednesday, but Tranquilli’s resignation makes that trial no longer necessary.
Tranquilli was suspended without pay from the state after being charged with judicial misconduct. He is facing six counts of judicial misconduct, most of which concern alleged racially insensitive remarks directed at jurors and defendants.
He was relieved of his duties after allegedly using a racial slur against a Black juror.
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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.”
A 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.”
Two men were scheduled to testify this week before the Court of Judicial Misconduct but the trial was canceled.
Had he gone forward with the trial, Tranquilli would have faced other witnesses and allegations of making racially insensitive remarks.
In its report, the conduct board said Tranquilli’s actions show “bias, prejudice and harassment,” “bring the office into disrepute” and “undermine public confidence”. At trial, he faced censure, suspension, fines or removal from office.