CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The planned launch of a new computer system for Mecklenburg County courts is being delayed because of technical issues occurring in Wake County and several other North Carolina counties, which have been serving as North Carolina test locations ahead of a statewide deployment.
The new system is called Odyssey and was developed by Tyler Tech. Parts of the new system, including the eWarrants software used to manage warrants, are already operating in Charlotte. However other aspects of the software — which will interact with everything including speeding tickets, family court, divorce and custody issues, murder trials and more — were scheduled to be implemented in May after being delayed previously.
In a statement emailed to WCNC Charlotte for previous reporting in February, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office admitted the new system was “adding extra steps” and “arrest information is not as real-time as before.”
Wake County, home to North Carolina's capital city of Raleigh, was among the state's first counties to get the full suite of software.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather told his staff Friday that the Administrative Office of the Courts informed local court officials that Odyssey's rollout in Mecklenburg County would be delayed at least briefly.
WCNC Charlotte found the new software has a history of issues across the country. Some of these previous issues have led to class-action lawsuits and millions of dollars in payouts.
This new technology, which is costing taxpayers $100 million in North Carolina, was supposed to launch more than a year and a half ago. Problems with the technology in North Carolina delayed the launch. It is problems such as these that elsewhere have kept people wrongfully held in jail, allowed the release of sensitive information and more.
“It was a mess, to say the least," Chris Wanner, the head of the Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in Lubbock, Texas, where the same new technology launched a year and a half ago, told WCNC Charlotte previously.
In a heated meeting of Lubbock's commissioners, several attorneys spoke out about their concerns including instances where people were wrongfully held in jail because of glitches with the new system.
"Lubbock citizens are being held in jail longer than they should be," attorney Rocky Ramirez explained to WCNC Charlotte's Michelle Boudin during her original reporting.
A new deployment date in Mecklenburg County has not yet been announced.