Louisiana Judge Resigns over N-Word Home Video

Michelle M. Odinet
City Court of Lafayette

Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle M. Odinet resigned from her position Friday after going on unpaid leave in response to a leaked home video that featured her using the N-word.

In a letter submitted to the Louisiana Supreme Court filed by her attorney Dane Ciolino, Odinet said she takes full responsibility for the hurtful language she was heard uttering in the video.

“I take full responsibility for the hurtful words used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home. 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,” Odinet wrote.

Odinet’s attorney told HuffPost that the former judge “understands that this is the end of her public service, but only the beginning of what she must to do to earn the forgiveness of the community.”

Ciolino added that Odinet is “humiliated, embarrassed and sorry for what she has done and the trouble that she has caused to her community.”

Odinet went on unpaid leave earlier in December when viral video showed her and others watching surveillance footage on television of a burglary taking place in the driveway of her home. Though the people’s faces remained off-camera, the voice was later confirmed to be Odinet.

“And Mom’s yelling n***er, n***er,” one male voice says in the video. Amid the playful banter, a female voice then says the N-word and roach in the same sentence.

“We have a n ***er, It’s a n***er, like a roach,” the female voice says in the video.

Later in the video, the group commented on someone tripping in the surveillance footage, dropping their wallet.

“That’s my phone where it fell out,” a male voice says

“The dude had a phone on him,” a female voice responds. “You should have taken his phone and stolen from him, that f**king a**hole.”

“Go and get the gun,” says another male voice. “It’s important, very important.”

Exactly who recorded the conversation and how it became public remains unknown.

Later, in a statement to CNN affiliate KATC, Odinet said she had been “given a sedative” after having her home burglarized and that she had no “recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it.”

“My children and I were the victim of an armed burglary at our home. The police were called, and the assailant was arrested,” she said. “The incident shook me to my core and my mental state was fragile. I was a wreck and am still unable to sleep.”

“I was given a sedative at the time of the video. I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” she added. “Anyone who knows me and my husband, knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives.”

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Lousiana Black Caucus, and the NAACP all called for her resignation at the time.

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