Louisiana judge Michelle Odinet resigned from her seat on the Lafayette City Court Friday, weeks after home video showed her and other people using racial slurs after a suspect in an attempted car burglary was apprehended.
Unlike a statement provided by her attorney immediately after the video went viral in mid-December, Odinet's resignation letter claimed responsibility for the comments in the video, in which the former judge can be heard but not seen.
"I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home," Odinet wrote in a New Year's Eve resignation letter addressed to the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
"I am sorry for the pain that I have caused my community and ask for your forgiveness, as my words did not foster the public's confidence and integrity for the judiciary."
Odinet said she decided to resign "in order to facilitate healing within the community."
In the video, Odinet and other unidentified people are apparently reviewing home security camera footage of the apprehension of a suspected vehicle burglar.
On Monday, Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams ordered a civil rights review of all the cases Odinet prosecuted as an assistant district attorney, saying 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.”
On Dec. 15, Odinet said she would take unpaid leave, and one day later, the Louisiana Supreme Court disqualified Odinet, effectively suspending her without pay, effective immediately.
Odinet, a Republican, was first elected to a six-year term last year, the Acadiana Advocate reported. She previously worked as a prosecutor and public defender.