A Pennsylvania judge has been temporarily removed from the bench after a conversation with two attorneys allegedly turned into a racist tirade about the “terrible decision” of putting “Aunt Jemima” on a jury. That jury in Allegheny County acquitted an accused drug dealer on Jan. 24 and allegedly set Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli on a rant with Assistant District Attorney Thaddeus Dutkowski and defense attorney John Otte. Tranquilli allegedly told the prosecutor that it was obvious that he was going to lose the case from the moment “Aunt Jemima” was picked because “her ‘baby daddy’ probably sells heroin and that her presumed bias in favor of heroin dealers had caused or contributed to the not guilty verdict,” Otte wrote.
Once the verdict was read, Tranquilli allegedly tossed the verdict sheet and “held a private question-and-answer session with the members of the jury,” Afterwards, the attorneys were told to wait almost 30 minutes to speak to Tranquilli in his chambers, where the judge expressed “dissatisfaction with the jury. While “Aunt Jemima” is known as a pancake-mix brand, the logo — a black woman with a scarf covering her hair and grinning — has its historical origins in the depiction of black women in subservient roles as nannies or housekeepers for whites, and the phrase is considered a derogatory and offensive slur.