BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Gov. John Bel Edwards called for Lafayette City Judge Michelle Odinet to resign during his end-of-year press briefing today.
When asked by a reporter if Odinet should resign, Edwards replied, “The answer is yes.”
Edwards said that he knows that Odinet is taking unpaid leave to “reflect on what her next move should be,” but said that she has “all but acknowledged that the words uttered in the video were hers.”
Edwards said there is “no place for that kind of language among members of the judiciary.” He also said the incident shows that there will be practical problems in her courtroom, as Black litigants will likely continue to ask for her recusal from their cases.
“And I don’t know that she’d have a valid basis for denying [those recusals],” Edwards said. “I believe she should resign, I hope she comes to that conclusion for herself.”
Odinet’s attorney, Dane S. Ciolino, issued the following response to Edwards’ comments:
Judge Odinet is humiliated, embarrassed, and sorry for what she has done and the trouble that she has caused to her community. She certainly understands the Governor’s view of her inappropriate statements and the similar views of many, many others. As a result, before the close of business today, she will file a petition with the Louisiana Supreme Court requesting an indefinite leave from the bench without pay. In the weeks to come, she will consider what’s best for her and her community in the long term.