State Supreme Court Suspends Lafayette Judge
Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet's indefinite leave of absence has officially begun.
The Supreme Court of Louisiana has suspended Odinet pending "further proceedings" in relation to a video in which Odinet and her son were caught uttering and repeating a racist slur.
According to the order signed by Chief Justice John L. Weimer, "disqualified from exercising judicial functions, without salary." This decree grants the request Odinet's attorney sent to the Supreme Court on Thursday. According to the order, Weimer approved the request later that day.
That order did not receive unanimous approval from the court's seven justices. Associate Justice Jefferson Hughes, III, said the court should have had more information before making its decision.
"While I condemn the language reported in the media, at this point all we have are media reports," wrote Hughes. "I would like to see some hard facts as to who said what and when. This situation did not happen in a vacuum."
On Thursday, through her lawyer, Odinet admitted to using a racial slur in the video recorded in her family's Lafayette home.
On Monday, shortly after the Current first published the video, Judge Odinet released a statement in which she said she did not recall what happened because she was under the influence of a sedative. One day later, she told local reporters that the video "highlighted and confirmed a suspected substance abuse issue our son is having."
Odinet referenced one of her sons by name in that video. That son, Eli Odinet, was kicked off the LSU Track and Field Team on Thursday.
Despite the fallout from the video, Judge Odinet continues to resist calls to resign. Governor John Bel Edwards, the Anti-Defamation League, and hosts of other local and national officials have urged Odinet to step down from the bench permanently.