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Identity & Community
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Allegheny County Judge Accused Of Making Racist Remarks Resigns

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Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA
The courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh.

A judge in western Pennsylvania accused of making racially insensitive comments has resigned one day before he was to face a misconduct trial.

His lawyer on Tuesday confirmed Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli stepped down from the bench.

His resignation halts Wednesday's start of a trial before a three-judge panel in which Tranquilli faced six counts of judicial misconduct, mostly involving racially insensitive remarks that allegedly were aimed at jurors and defendants.

Officials began investigating after a trial in January in which the judge was accused of referring to a Black female juror as “Aunt Jemima.”

Tranquilli later wrote his colleagues that he was referring not to the woman, but to the head wrap she was wearing.

The Judicial Conduct Board also accused Tranquilli of speaking in an urban dialect to a Black couple during a custody hearing in 2015.

Tranquilli was placed on administrative leave in February and was suspended without pay in August.