Louisiana Judge Michelle Odinet Steps Down After Being Caught Using Racial Slur On A Video
Louisiana judge Michelle Odinet has stepped down from her role after being caught using racial slur in a video that has circulated online.
On December 16, 2021, the Lousiana Supreme court suspended Odinet after learning about the incident and appointed an ad hoc judge, Retired Opelousas City Court Judge Vanessa Harris, a black woman, to look after Ordinet's case.
Odinet also took a leave of absence on the same day the court announced her suspension.
Odinet's attorney Dane Ciolino confirmed her resignation after Odinet wrote a letter to the state's court.
"After much reflection and prayer, and in order to facilitate healing within the community, I hereby resign as judge of the Lafayette City Court effective immediately," the letter read. "I am sending a copy of this letter to the Secretary of State and hope that a special election can be scheduled to fill the vacancy that my resignation creates."
Earlier this month, a video leaked showing Odinet making comments as she watches surveillance footage of a suspect fleeing being taken down by a homeowner after he had allegedly broken into a car.
According to officials, the suspects were breaking into the vehicles in her and her husband's driveway, but one of the victims caught the suspect and held them down till the officers arrived on the scene.
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Someone recorded the video of people watching the footage of the incident on a TV where a male voice is heard saying, "Mom's yelling n---er, n---er," and a female voice then responded while laughing, "It's a n---er, like a roach."
Odinet's attorney later shared that the former judge used the language heard in the video.
Following the confession, the mother of four apologized and said she was on medicine and had "no recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it."
"The (burglary) shook me to my core, and my mental state was fragile," she explained. "I was wreck and am still unable to sleep. I was given a sedative at the time of the video."
After learning about the case, several state and local officials, including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and City Councilman Glenn Lazard, called Odinet to resign.
In her notice to quit, Odinet also claimed to "take full responsibility for the hurtful words used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home."
"I am sorry for the pain that I have caused my community and ask for your forgiveness, as my words did not foster the public's confidence and integrity for the judiciary," she added.
Ciolino also issued a statement addressing her client "understands that this is the end of her public service, but only the beginning of what she must to do to earn the forgiveness of the community."