All Cases Prosecuted By Judge Who Got Caught Using N-Word Under Review


Photo: Lafayette City Court

The Louisiana judge who got caught on camera using the N-word and comparing a burglary suspect to a "roach" is on unpaid leave after the video went viral, but it appears her entire career's work is being questioned.

New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams has ordered a review of all of the cases Michelle Odinet handled as a prosecutor in the 1990s. Odinet became a judge last year, serving on the bench of the Lafayette City Court after being elected to the role.

In the viral video reportedly taken from inside of Odinet's home, several people, who faces are not in the camera, can be heard laughing and using the N-word while reviewing home security footage of an attempted burglary. The burglary suspect is a Black man.

Odinet's lawyer, Dane Ciolinio confirmed it was the judge who said the N-word in the video.

Williams' investigation was announced Monday (December 20), who said the language used in the video is "deeply concerning to any person who genuinely cares about fair outcomes in our criminal system," NOLA.com reported.

"No act, including a criminal act, justifies the denial of basic dignity inherent in the language used by Judge Odinet," Williams' statement continued. "That a judge and a former prosecutor so comfortably employed a racial epithet serves as a telling reminder that the attitudes which fostered mass incarceration continue to undermine our pursuit of equal justice."

Odinet's "casual dehumanization displayed by Judge Odinet raises series questions about her impartiality and the presence of bias and discrimination in her work on the bench and her time as a prosecutor," Williams added.

It's not clear how many cases will be under review by Williams' office, but Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and other Lafayette City officials have called for Odinet's resignation after the video circulated online.

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