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Louisiana judge on unpaid leave after using racial slur

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Posted at 3:01 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 17:02:23-05

Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet will take an unpaid leave of absence, her lawyer confirms with KATC after a video surfaced with racist language recorded at her residence.

Judge Odinet's attorney, Dane Ciolino, tells KATC that he will file a motion Thursday morning with the Judiciary committee for Odinet to go on unpaid leave.

This comes after video footage taken at Judge Odinet's home circulated online following an attempted burglary there over the weekend.

The video appears to show a group of people watching home surveillance. A woman's voice can be heard saying the n-word and comparing the suspect to a roach.

Odinet said in a statement that she was given a sedative at the time of the video and had "zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it."

Calls continue for Odinet to be held accountable, as the controversy tied to the judge and her family is now gaining national attention. The Anti-Defamation League and the Urban League of Louisiana are the latest to release statements about the video.

The ADL wants the Judiciary Committee to examine Judge Odinet's conduct and take "swift and appropriate action."

Several complaints have been filed with the commission against Judge Odinet.

We've learned she has not been in court since the video surfaced Monday. According to an order from the state Supreme Court, Judge Ronnie Cox has been appointed to take over Odinet's cases through Dec. 21.

The order, however, doesn't appear to have anything to do with the video controversy, as it was requested on Dec. 8.

As first reported by our media partners at The Advocate, Ciolino says what happens in the long term is "something [Odinet] is going to think about in the weeks to come."

Web staff at KATC first reported this story.