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City Court Judge Michelle M. Odinet is taking an unpaid leave after a video inside her home showed the Louisiana judge repeatedly using the n-word.
Her lawyer, Dane Ciolino, said that the judge is “humiliated” and “embarrassed.”
“She is humiliated, embarrassed and sorry for what she’s done and the trouble she’s caused to the community,” Ciolino said. “Tomorrow, she’s going on interim leave without pay. And as far as what’ll happen in the longer term, she’ll have to deal with that in the weeks to come.”
Judge asks for forgiveness after she and son use n-word
Odinet’s family was reviewing what appears to be home surveillance footage of an attempted burglary when multiple people in the room, including Odinet, used the n-word.
“Mom’s yelling, n*gger, n*gger,” the guy holding the camera said.
“We have a n*gger. It’s a n*gger, like a roach,” a lady responded.
Neither Odinet nor her lawyer have confirmed who it was speaking in the video, only saying her voice “appears at some point.”
In a text message sent to The Acadiana Advocate, Odinet asked for “understanding, forgiveness, patience, and prayers” for her and her son.
“I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” Odinet told The Current. “Anyone who knows me and my husband, knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives.”
“The situation highlighted and confirmed a suspected substance abuse issue our son is having,” she added. “We are taking the necessary steps to get our son the help and treatment he needs.”
Judge blames use of slur on sedative
Odinet blamed the racist language on a sedative taken because she was “taken to her core” after the burglary.
Calls for her resignation have grown from the NAACP, Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, and others.
“As a proud Black man, and the Lafayette City Marshal, I strongly believe Judge Odinet should be held accountable” for the words on the video, Lafayette City Marshall Reggie Thomas said Tuesday.
“I’m sure that people of color will find it impossible to trust that they will be treated fairly and equally when they have to stand for judgment before Judge Odinet,” he said. “This type of language cannot be accepted or tolerated by anyone, especially those who serve as leaders in our city. It is up to Judge Odinet to remember the oath she took, and should she remain on the bench, find a way to gain back the trust of ‘all’ of Lafayette, especially African Americans. A mere ineffectual and weak apology will not suffice,” Thomas said
On Monday, Michael Toussaint, NAACP president, called for Odinet’s resignation. “She is a sitting judge in a sitting court. She represents the community of Lafayette. We can’t condone that type of behavior from her or anyone else for that matter.”