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Former judge who sent racist texts starting private law practice

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GONZALES - Former 23rd Judicial District Court Judge Jessie Leblanc, who resigned amid a cloud of controversy after a WBRZ Investigative Unit report, announced recently on social media that she is starting her own law practice. 

In February, the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed racist text messages where she referred to two African-Americans by a racial slur that begins with the letter "n." Within seven days of our report, Leblanc resigned her position amid growing outrage among the community, state and nation. 

Now, it appears she's ready to get back into the courtroom, but this time she won't be wearing a robe or handing out justice. 

"Keep calm I have good news," the post on Jessie LeBlanc's Facebook page reads. "As promised, I have an announcement! I am going back into practice! Still working out the details and will give you office location and number as soon as that is finalized! I will be doing family law, successions, personal injury, criminal defense- pretty much anything but federal law! Private message me for now, but further details should be posted next week. I cannot wait to get started HELPING PEOPLE again!! God is good!"

As Leblanc gears up to start practicing law again, District Attorney Ricky Babin said the process to notify all the defendants of the racial slurs she used continues. Recently, a second batch of letters began arriving in mailboxes of at least 700 people to alert them and their attorneys about this issue. The first round of letters went out to defendants to let them know she was having an affair with a chief criminal deputy in Assumption Parish and the possible conflict there.

Part of the second disclosure letter reads, "Leblanc has resigned her position after it was discovered she made racially charged, inflammatory and prejudicial statements and comments against two individuals.... The District Attorney's Office believes Jessie Leblanc's words and actions described above made during her tenure as a district court judge rise to the level of Brady/Giglio … therefore we are making this disclosure."

"Letters are going out as we speak," Babin said. "I've been contacted by some attorneys wanting to get some facts on what to do with it. We haven't had any hearings on it because the courts have been running at a fraction as they have been."

Babin said the attorneys and defendants who have reached out are exploring their options about whether the justice Leblanc doled out was fair. 

"They sure are questioning whether they were or weren't [treated fairly]," Babin said.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit reached out to Leblanc on social media to ask her when she plans to open and also whether she forsees any challenges practicing law in front of judges who are African-American. We have not heard back from her. 

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