Judge accused of calling juror 'Aunt Jemima' suspended

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania -- A Pennsylvania judge accused of making racist comments about a juror was barred from hearing any cases, according to a court order issued Thursday.

Judge Mark Tranquilli was suspended after being accused of referring to a black female juror as "Aunt Jemima" repeatedly in comments he made in his chambers following the acquittal of a drug suspect on Jan. 24.

Allegheny County Bar Association said it is also "demanding a complete investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania."

Tranquilli was temporarily reassigned to summary appeals on Tuesday following an interview of the judge by court administration staff. He will be forbidden from hearing any case and will be restricted to "administrative duties only, effective immediately."

The judge allegedly made the comments in his chambers in the presence of the prosecutor, Ted Dutkowski, and the defense attorney, Joe Otte.

Tranquilli did not respond to requests for comment this week.
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