Penn. Judge Resigns the Day Before His Misconduct Trial Over Alleged Racist Comments Was Set to Start

Illustration for article titled Penn. Judge Resigns the Day Before His Misconduct Trial Over Alleged Racist Comments Was Set to Start
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The only thing worse than a racist is a cowardly racist.

Yeah, I know: All racists are cowards. But every once in a while we get to see a racist tuck their tail between their legs and run just before they’re officially confronted with their racist behavior. Such appears to be the case for now-former Pennsylvania Judge Mark Tranquilli, who quit his job Tuesday, one day before he was to face a misconduct trial in which he’s accused of six counts of judicial misconduct mostly involving racist comments he allegedly made towards Black jurors and defendants.


As The Root previously reported, Tranquilli’s problems began in February when he was placed on administrative leave after he allegedly got so salty about a “not guilty” verdict that he called a Black juror who was wearing a head wrap “Aunt Jemima” and suggested that “when she goes home to her baby daddy, he’s probably slinging heroin,” according to a district attorney and defense attorney involved in the case. In August, a formal complaint was filed against him by the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board and he was charged with judicial misconduct. He was suspended without pay shortly after, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

According to Penn Live, Tranquilli wrote to his colleagues that he was referring to the head wrap, not the Black woman, because not only are racists cowardly, but they’re terrible at making up plausible excuses for their bigoted comments.

Side note: Whenever I come across a story about a Black woman being called “Aunt Jemima” by a white person, I like to remind America that when Quaker Oats made the long-overdue decision to remove the Aunt Jemima brand from its product line, white people got all in their feelings about it and argued vehemently that there was nothing racist about the brand logo and that we were all just being sensitive snowflakes.

Tranquilli’s alleged “Aunt Jemima” comments aren’t the only accusations he faced. Here’s what we reported in August:

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.”


Somewhere in here, there’s a joke about Tranquilli trading in his judge robe for a Klan robe...but I’m not going to make it.

Anyway, according to CBS, Tranquilli’s attorney, Matt Logue, confirmed Tuesday that the now-former Allegheny County judge has resigned effectively making his misconduct trial set to start Wednesday unnecessary—with his cowardly ass.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons


Murry Chang

PA judges are elected and, thus, are generally fucking horrible.