In Pennsylvania, a white judge is facing six counts of judicial misconduct for being an outright racist.
According to Newsweek, a formal complaint was filed against Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli by the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board. The complaint alleges that Tranquilli engaged in racist behavior against Black jurors and defendants since at least 2015. Tranquilli was placed on administrative leave in February after allegedly calling a Black juror in a head wrap “Aunt Jemima.” The comment came as Tranquilli was discussing jury selection with a group of lawyers in his chambers following a not guilty verdict. Tranquilli went on to speculate that the juror had a “baby daddy,” that was “probably slinging heroin.”
Whew, nothing like some casual racism from a person with the ability to grant life sentences.
This was not the only instance of Tranquilli being racist, as the complaint details a 2015 trial where the judge said “that his only concern is his own three children” and added he “did not care” about the children involved in the case. While discussing communication with the parents involved in the case, he allegedly “affected an accent and dialect described as ‘Ebonics.’”
“When I say communication, I don’t mean ‘and den da bitch done dis, and den da bitch done dat,” Tranquilli said, according to the complaint. At one point during the same case, he described himself as “a butcher” and that he could “split [their] baby in half like Solomon and sleep like a baby that night.”
So, uh, that’s just fucking weird, y’all. Why would you say that in any context, let alone during a legal proceeding where you’re the judge?
According to the Tribune-Review, Tranquilli is also alleged to have told a female defendant that she “laid down with dogs,” to have her two children during a sentencing hearing in 2018.
“For the cost of three shiny quarters in any bathroom in any rest stop in Pennsylvania, you probably could have gone a different direction,” he added.
“The allegations contained within the board complaint undermine both public confidence in the judiciary and its reputation,” the board wrote. “If Judge Tranquilli is permitted to continue exercising judicial duties during the pendency of the board complaint, the public’s confidence in the judiciary will continue to erode.”
The board is currently recommending Tranquilli be suspended without pay. Judges are elected to ten-year terms and the only way for Tranquilli to be removed is either through impeachment or through the Court of Judicial Discipline, where the complaint was filed.