A case that says mistakes in a new $100 million electronic court filing system led to illegal arrests and detentions is moving forwards as officials prepare to expand the programme. The software company Tyler Technologies is the target of the lawsuit. The defendants have been served, and they have 30 days to reply to the claims. People's constitutional rights are being violated, the case says, by switching to eCourts as a pilot project in four North Carolina counties.
A lawsuit with claims of unlawful arrests and detainments blamed on flaws in a new $100 million electronic court filing system is moving ahead as officials prepare to expand the program.https://t.co/xTkuRFyj0j
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 24, 2023
This new step in the eCourts rollout comes as court officials are getting ready to add Mecklenburg County to the system in October. In Harnett, Johnston, Lee, and Wake counties, the move from paper to digital data for eCourts began in February. But people have complained about bugs, outages, delays, and not being able to get to court information. Because of these problems, people have to stay in court longer, get protection orders later, get wrongly arrested, and wait longer to get out of jail.
The lawsuit, which lawyer Zack Ezor filed in May, gives detailed examples of how the system's flaws led to constitutional violations. In one case, a Lee County resident had to stay in jail for two extra weeks because a case file went missing. In another case, a Triangle resident was arrested again on the same warrant even though her case had been dropped. The case is trying to get $5 million in damages, stop the Wake and Lee county sheriffs from using the system, and stop the rollout of eCourts until the problems are fixed.
It's important to note that Tyler Technologies has been sued in similar ways in Texas, California, Tennessee, and Indiana. This suggests that North Carolina's problems could have been seen coming. But neither the North Carolina court system nor Tyler Technologies has said anything about this case.
Even though there have been problems, the North Carolina Judicial Branch has focused on the good things about the new system. For example, the eCourts Portal is used for a large number of internet filings and searches. They have also said that the speed and security of the system have been improved. Still, on October 9, eCourts will be available in Mecklenburg County, which has the second most people in the state. The rollout will continue across the whole state until the end of 2025, when all areas will be included.
Even though the eCourts system may have some good points, this case has shown that there are problems with it and that it violates the Constitution. Before growing the programme further, it's important that these problems are dealt with and fixed. The government should make Tyler Technologies answer for their mistakes and protect the civil rights of the people.