South Louisiana Judge Admits To Using Racial Slurs After Text Messages Made Public
After initially denying the claims, a south Louisiana judge is admitting to using racially charged language.
According to WAFB, Judge Jessie Leblanc sent text messages using the "N-word" "while referring to a black deputy and to a court employee." A signed affidavit from Assumption Parish Sheriff Leland Falcon states that the messages came from the cellphone of his former chief deputy, Capt. Bruce Prejean "and were not altered."
Although she admitted to using the slurs LeBlanc is adamant that the messages are "altered."
Still, she apologized, saying she "regretted the message" and her use of the slurs are "not reflective of her personality" and that she has "many African-American friends."
I should have never said it. It is uncalled for. I was angry. I was upset but it’s no excuse.
Falcon says there is no need to conduct a forensic examination of Prejean's personal cellphone for more text messages.
The messages speak for themselves and when enjoined by all the facts available to us, all of which we have made available to the media, the texts speak loudly and there's no question as to who sent them
LeBlanc's affair with Prejean has been scrutinized for quite some time now and is just another layer to the controversy that the 23rd Judicial district judge has been dealing with. In the wake of all of the unfolding drama both the state and the Baton Rouge chapters of the NAACP have called for "immediate resignation."
LeBlanc says she has no plans to step down but "plans to meet with the NAACP."
Others, including public defender offices and the district attorney, have requested that LeBlanc recuse herself from criminal cases due to the "conflict of interest" that her relationship with Prejean created.
The text messages added fuel to an ongoing dispute against the embattled 23rd Judicial district judge, whose record has fallen under scrutiny after she acknowledged having an affair with Prejean.
In late December, The Advocate reported that District Attorney Ricky Babin had informed some 20 Assumption Parish criminal defendants that the judge overseeing their cases has disclosed a personal relationship with a top deputy in the parish Sheriff’s Office. On Thursday, The Advocate published photocopies of texts released by Falcon containing the racial slurs. That led Babin last week to reveal that the comments in the texts forced him to send notices to some 2,100 defendants and lawyers in all three parishes of the 23rd Judicial District where LeBlanc presides. He said the texts give the appearance of bias and prejudice in cases involving black defendants, defendants who had black witnesses or black potential jurors.
The Louisiana Supreme Court is the only authority over LeBlanc, but as of this morning has taken no action against the embattled judge. It is also worth noting that the court closed at noon on Friday and will not reopen until Wednesday.
We will keep you updated with details on this story as they become available. Watch the full video and see the extended story from our friends at WAFB here.