Archive

As judge, Tranquilli wants to intervene early | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

As judge, Tranquilli wants to intervene early

Ptrjudges4040113
Patrick Connelly of Shadyside is a candidate for Allegheny County Common Pleas judge. He has worked at the law firm of Summers, McDonnell, Hudock, Guthrie & Skeel for more than 18 years specializing in civil litigation.
PTRTranquilli2031113
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Deputy District Attorney Mark Tranquilli is on a leave of absence from his job to run for a seat on Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
ptrcooper051113
Marcia Cooper of O'Hara, a staff attorney for KidsVoice, is running for Allegheny County Common Pleas judge.

Mark Tranquilli remembers prosecuting a man in 1994, and then trying a case against his son 10 years later.

Just before Tranquilli took leave this spring from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office to run for Common Pleas judge, a case involving the man’s grandson came through the office.

“As a prosecutor, I’m at the end of the line in the criminal justice system,” said Tranquilli, 46, of Upper St. Clair, one of 13 candidates running for four spots on the bench. “What if I can get my hands on these kids before it’s the end of the line?”

That quest is driving Tranquilli to seek a job as a judge instead of following his original goal, to be district attorney. He said that office requires political connections he does not have.

“A trial judge is on the front lines,” he said.

Tranquilli says his 20 years of trying cases makes him most qualified for the job. Although he spent them all in criminal court, he said he’s prepared for and looking forward to family court, where most new judges start.

A Baldwin native, Tranquilli was raised by a single mother and grandmother. He said that experience helps him connect with many of the people caught in the system.

“I see Family Division as an opportunity to help that kid that starts with a strike against him like I did,” he said. “I might be able to nudge him down the right road to success.”

On the issues:

What’s the top issue facing the court? “I see a lot of crimes that are being driven by other forces. It’s exciting to see more specialty courts to deal with the underlying problems.”

How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “They know my reputation for integrity. They know a $250 contribution won’t affect the way I do my job.”

Should judges hire family members? “There’s no place for that.”

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.