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New Orleans DA orders review of disgraced judge’s cases

Michelle Odinet, City Court Judge, Lafayette, Louisiana
Michelle Odinet, City Court Judge, Lafayette, Louisiana(City Court Lafayette)
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 5:37 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams has ordered a full review of all cases prosecuted in Orleans Parish by embattled Lafayette Judge Michelle Odinet.

Odinet served as a prosecutor and the Assistant District Attorney in Orleans Parish in the 90s.

Still named Michelle Miller, she helped prosecute a high-profile French Quarter rampage stabbing suspect, Robert Graves, in 1995. She married Kenneth Odinet, Jr. later that year and moved to Lafayette after the wedding.

A video of Odinet calling a would-be home invasion or robbery suspect the n-word lead to the Louisiana Supreme Court disqualifying her from the bench without pay last week.

The video shows a television set displaying security footage of what appears to be a foiled burglary at the judge’s home. Laughter and racist slurs are heard from the viewers — who aren’t visible on camera — as they watch two people capture the suspect.

A 59-year-old unarmed Black man was arrested after the incident.

Odinet said she had taken a sedative at the time the video was made and does not remember it.

Williams calls the language “deeply concerning to any person who genuinely cares about fair outcomes in our criminal system.”

“No act, including a criminal act, justifies the denial of basic dignity inherent in the language used by Judge Odinet. 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. 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,” Williams said in a statement.

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