The New Orleans district attorney is reviewing the cases that Michelle Odinet handled when she worked there in the 1990s.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams announced this yesterday.
Odinet, a city court judge in Lafayette, has been suspended while the state Supreme Court investigates the circumstances surrounding a video that has been made public in which Odinet and one other person at her home uses the n-word during a laughter-filled review of home surveillance video.
Odinet is a New Orleans-area native who worked as an assistance district attorney in Orleans Parish. Our media partners at The Advocate posted a story about her background and that of her husband, Lafayette Parish Coroner Ken Odinet. To read that story, click here.
“I have ordered my Civil Rights Division to initiate a full review of all cases prosecuted by now-Judge Michelle Odinet while she served as an Assistant District Attorney in Orleans Parish," the announcement from Williams states. "The language attributed to Judge Odinet last week is 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."
We've reached out to Williams' office with some questions about the details, and we'll update that story with any responses.
"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," Williams' announcement reads. "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.”