Louisiana Judge Resigns After Using Racist Language in Home Video

Former Louisiana Judge Michelle M. Odinet. Image: City Court of Lafayette, Louisiana.

Louisiana judge Michelle Odinet resigned from the bench on the Lafayette City Court Friday, weeks after a home video showed her and other people using racial slurs after apprehending a suspect who attempted to burglarize her vehicles, NBC News reports.

As EBONY previously reported, Odinet faced calls for her resignation by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the local chapter of the NAACP, and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. 

When the video went viral, Odinet said she would take unpaid leave, before being disqualified by the Louisiana Supreme Court who suspended her without pay, effective immediately.

In a statement to KATC last month, Odinet said she had been “given a sedative” and had no “recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it.”

In her resignation letter addressed to the Louisiana Supreme Court, Odient offered a formal apology for her actions.

“I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home,” Odinet’s resignation letter read. “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.”

According to Odinet, she decided to resign from her post “in order to facilitate healing within the community.”

“Ms. Odinet understands that this is the end of her public service, but only the beginning of what she must do to earn the forgiveness of the community,” her attorney Dane Ciolino added.

Jason Williams, Orleans Parish District Attorney, launched a civil rights review of all the cases Odinet prosecuted as an assistant district attorney on Monday, saying the “casual dehumanization displayed by Judge Odinet raises serious questions about her impartiality and the presence of bias and discrimination in her work on the bench and during her time as a prosecutor.”

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