The scenario is horrifying: a software error leads to your wrongful imprisonment. Despite your claims of innocence, you’re put behind bars due to a faulty court management system. This may sound like the plot of a fictionalized book or movie, but the truth is software problems are causing legal disasters across the country.
Alameda County Court Troubles
In California, the Alameda County court system has recently been thrust into the spotlight over their reliance on a flawed court management system. Their software program, called Odyssey, has been linked to a total of 26 separate incidents. Among the problems: inmates held in jail for days after their scheduled release dates and arrests made based off of outdated court appearance records.
Courts in Memphis, Tennessee, also relying on Odyssey, had a class action suit recently filed against them for similar injustices. Despite initially blaming software developer, Tyler Technologies, for the issues, court representatives soon stated that integrating the new system caused the inaccuracies.
As more and more courts across the nation, including in the New York judicial system, implement new software programs, concerns are being raised. How accurate are these programs? What is being done to protect the rights of those who fall victim to “glitchy” software?
Although false imprisonment due to software issues may only last a few days, this is still an alarming issue. Erroneously depriving a person of his or her freedom, even if just for a day or two, is unconstitutional. Glitches are understandable in certain arenas, but 100 percent accuracy is required within the criminal justice system. Odyssey could easily be just the first in a long line of software programs with operating errors.
What Can Be Done
Although software systems reduce the court’s staffing needs, they can’t be completely relied on. Human oversight is needed at each and every level of the judicial system. Software should be used exclusively for backing up the information that has already been reviewed by trained and qualified staff members.
This latest injustice is a reminder of how important it is to protect yourself from the current bureaucratic system. Hiring an experienced attorney will help with your defense when facing any type of criminal charges.