“Perhaps all of the litigants who are African-Americans will seek for recusal, and I don’t think she has a valid basis to deny that recusal,” said Governor Edwards.
by 4WWL Staff
BATON ROUGE, La. — Lafayette city judge Michelle Odinet, who was caught on tape using a racial slur, should resign, Governor John Bel Edwards said Thursday, during his end of year press conference.
“There is no place for that type of language, especially among members of the judiciary who have the most important role in the administration of justice,” said Edwards. “I believe she should resign.”
Odinet’s attorney, Dane Ciolino, said Wednesday night that the judge would be taking a leave of absence and is “embarrassed and humiliated and sorry for what she has done.”
Edwards said Odinet’s ability to do her job, considering her comments, might be too much to overcome.
“Perhaps all of the litigants who are African-Americans will seek for recusal, and I don’t think she has a valid basis to deny that recusal.”
Ciolino said Odinet will take a leave of absence without pay immediately. “In the coming weeks, she will consider what’s next.”
Ciolino told CBS News that one of the voices heard in the video belongs to the judge and that she uses a racial slur.
“She is sorry for what she has done and the trouble that she has caused the community,” said Ciolino.
The video shows a television set displaying security footage of what appears to be a foiled burglary at the judge’s home. Laughter and racist slurs are heard from the viewers — who aren’t visible on camera — as they watch two people capture the suspect.
Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet confirmed to Lafayette news outlets that the recording was made at her home. But she said she had taken a sedative at the time the video was made and does not remember it.
“I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” Odinet said.
Her original statement didn’t identify the speakers or say whether she was among those heard on the recording. It’s not clear who originally posted the video on social media. The security footage of a scene partially obscured by tree limbs appears to show at least two people capturing and holding someone.
A 59-year-old Black man was arrested after the burglary, which happened early Saturday, police said.
“That’s me,” one viewer says while watching the security footage of the man being caught. “And Mom’s yelling ‘n——-, n——-.'” Another viewer says, “We have a n—–. It’s a n—–, like a roach
Ciolino said the Louisiana Supreme Court will move to appoint an interim judge to hear court cases.