LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) She was suspended by the state supreme court and cleaned out her desk last week.
Today, Michelle Odinet has now stepped down and her resignation is effective immediately.
Embattled Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet has resigned. Dane Ciolino is her attorney.
“She understood that many people in the community were horrified by what she had said, and realized that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to preside over cases, and not have her impartiality questioned. it was just the right thing to do.”
Odinet was recently taken off the bench under a mutual agreement between the judge, the state supreme court and the state judiciary commission after a video surfaced of the judge saying racial slurs to describe a man who attempted a burglary at her home as she watched the security camera footage.
the video was posted on social media.
“What she did right after the tape was released, she did what most people instinctively do, which was to come up with and excuse for it. That didn’t last but for a few hours. she quickly accepted responsibility.”
The controversy set off a firestorm many questioned Odinet’s decision making on the bench and there were recusal motions filed in Lafayette City Court by defendants who accused Odinet of being prejudiced and biased against African-Americans, and that disqualified her from being fair and impartial under state law.
Some called for her resignation including Governor John Bel Edwards.
“Quite frankly there’s no place for that kind of language. Especially, by members of the judiciary, who have the most important role in administering justice in our state.”
Odinet submitted her resignation letter to the supreme court and the Secretary of State Friday.
In it she takes full responsibility for her hurtful words saying, “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.”
“She had been getting all sorts of advice from all sorts of people in the community. She listened carefully. She’s done the right thing.”
Orleans Parish recently announced that there will be a review of all of Odinet’s cases when she was a prosecutor there.
Ciolino says she welcomes the scrutiny and hopes Lafayette will do the same.
He says Odinet is convinced that her professional record will show no one was ever mistreated.
LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Michelle Odinet has resigned as Lafayette City Court Judge. Her resignation comes after weeks of public scrutiny following the surfacing of a video taken in her home in which racial slurs are used.
According to Odinet’s attorney, Dane Ciolino, he turned a letter of resignation into the Louisiana Supreme Court on her behalf on Friday, Dec. 31.
In the letter addressed to Chief Justice Weimer, Odinet said she takes “full responsibility for the hurtful words” used in the video and she apologized.
Read the letter below:
Odinet took a leave of absence that began on Dec. 14, the day after the video surfaced. Since then, Gov. Edwards, Lafayette Mayor-President Guillory, Lafayette City Marshal Thomas, and multiple other public officials condemned the use of the language. Some officials even called for her resignation.
On Dec. 16, the Louisiana Supreme Court opened an investigation into the racial slur-filled video and suspended Odinet during the investigation.
Odinet was elected to serve as judge of the Lafayette City Court, Division “A” on Nov 3., 2020. Before that, she was formerly a prosecutor for the Orleans and Lafayette Parish District Attorney’s offices, according to the Lafayette City Court’s website.