Michelle Odinet, a Lafayette City Court judge in Louisiana, stepped down temporarily on Thursday (December 16) after she was seen using racial slurs, following a burglary attempt, in a video. Her lawyer Dane Ciolino said that Odinet would soon apply for unpaid leaves. According to the lawyer, the judge decided to go on leave after local officials and activists demanded her resignation.
Ciolino stressed that his client was humiliated, as well as embarrassed, and that she already apologized for committing the mistake that hurt the community. He also said that Odinet would go on interim leave without pay on Friday, as she would have to deal with the consequences in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, City Marshal Reggie Thomas believes that it would be difficult for Odinet to deny the charge, as one should be responsible for something happened in her/his residence. He is of the opinion that a responsible person, like Odinet, would certainly address the issue. Current, a local news outlet, released the video first, as it was shot at Odinet's residence after a burglary attempt on Saturday (December 11). The video shows an unidentified person leaving one of the family's vehicles. The person made an attempt to leave the place, but was quickly caught and held until the arrival of police officers. The video further shows the suspect saying: "Mom's yelling, n--, n--." In reply to that, a female voice was heard saying: "We have a n--, It's a n--, like a roach." Viewers have assumed that it was Odinet's voice.
Later, Odinet told the Current that the attempted burglary "shook me to my core". However, she refused to confirm whether she had used the disturbing language. The judge said that she and her husband were different persons altogether, and not like that as portrayed by the media report. She further said that her son, too, was abused because of this incident.
In the past, 'Republican' Odinet used to serve as a prosecutor and a public defender. In 2020, she was first elected as a Lafayette City Court judge for a six-year term. According to Odinet, she was sorry for the entire episode, and was ready to face any consequences for the mistake she committed last week. However, her advocate Ciolino has refused to make any comments on his next move, saying he would have to discuss the issue with his client first, before talking to the media.