Magistrates in Mecklenburg County could not complete criminal processes Sunday between 6 p.m. and midnight, said an official with the North Carolina court system.
There was a software update that caused the problem.
“For those processes that required entry of a next court date, those processes had to be completed in paper during that timeframe and were later entered into the system,” the official said.
The Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Elizabeth Trosch approved that the courts could temporarily go back to using paper. However, the court system didn’t actually revert back to paper, the state court official clarified Monday morning.
The Mecklenburg County court system started using the Odyssey system on Oct. 9.
The Odyssey system is supposed to allow the public and attorneys the ability to file and access court documents without going to the courthouse. One of the main features is the system gets rid of the use of paper.
Prior to Odyssey’s launch in Mecklenburg County, there were reports from top officials across the state that the launch was anything but smooth.
In one instance, the Wake County District Attorney asked for an independent review of it after its launch.
Defense attorney Melissa Owen was in court Monday morning and saw the lingering impacts.
“I think an enormous mistake has been made and no one is willing to admit their mistake,” Owen said.
She said everyone was baffled by a man who posted bond at 10 p.m. Sunday but appeared in court still in a jail jumpsuit 12 hours later.
“There was no reason for him to be allowed to be held,” Owen said. “The point of moving to a digitized system is that it should be more immediate.”
A class-action lawsuit was filed in May in Wake County by Owen’s law firm, which claimed the new online system violated people’s constitutional rights.
The lawsuit was adjusted Monday to include incidents in Mecklenburg County.
They claim so far, “At least 66 people were detained well beyond the point their release conditions were satisfied with some held for an additional three to four days.”
VIDEO: New eCourts system in Meck County causes issues for traffic court