Motion filed to recuse Lafayette judge connected to racial slur video from case involving Black defendant

Louisiana

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The defense team for a Black man accused of operating while under the influence is requesting that a Lafayette judge under fire for racist language heard in a video recorded at her home recuse herself from the case.

De’edrick Lawrence pleaded no contest in September to second-offense OWI. He was put on unsupervised probation for two years and ordered to complete special conditions.

Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet is the sentencing judge in the case, and the defendant’s attorney has filed a motion expressing concern about the incident captured on video in Odinet’s home, in which racist slurs and laughter can be heard as security footage plays on a television set of what appears to be a foiled burglary and the capture of the suspect.

The motion asks the judge to recuse herself from the case, claiming that her review of Lawrence’s compliance with probationary conditions would likely result in an adverse impact due to his race.

“While a judgment of conviction has already been rendered pursuant to plea, this case presents a particular circumstance where a biased and prejudiced judge will hold his future in her hands for the next two years,” the motion states.

Odinet has confirmed the recording was made at her home but she said she had taken a sedative at the time the video was made and does not remember it. The incident has prompted calls for Judge Odinet to resign.

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