The New Orleans Parish district attorney has launched a full review into all of the cases that Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet handled as a prosecutor when she worked in the city nearly 30 years ago. Odinet, who served as a Lafayette City Court judge for a year, was suspended without pay earlier this month after she was heard repeatedly using the N-word in a now-viral video.
According to the Daily Mail, D.A. Jason Williams and his civil rights division are leading the review into her cases. Odinet has remained on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of over 100 complaints that were filed against her after the video spread on social media.
As reported by REVOLT, Odinet was heard calling a Black person the N-word and likening them to a cockroach in the clip. The video was filmed while the judge and her family watched surveillance video footage of what appeared to be an attempted robbery that happened in their driveway. Recounting the incident, one of Odinet’s children could be heard saying, “And mom’s yelling, ‘Ni***r! Ni***r!’” Odinet then said, “We have a ni***r. It’s a ni***r, like a roach,” referring to the alleged suspect.
Williams announced his intention to review Odinet’s cases earlier this week, calling her language in the video “deeply concerning to any person who genuinely cares about fair outcomes in our criminal system.”
“That a judge and 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,” he said in a written statement. “Moreover, the casual dehumanization displayed by Judge Odinet raises serious questions about her impartiality and the presence of bias and discrimination in her work on the bench and during her time as a prosecutor.”
According to NOLA, Odinet graduated from Tulane Law School in 1993 and worked as a prosecutor under disgraced then-District Attorney Harry Connick, who was later accused of prosecutorial misconduct that resulted in several overturned sentences. It’s unclear how many cases Odinet handled during her time as a prosecutor.