OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — In Alameda County, computer problems that are so bad some people are being wrongfully arrested.
Since august the Alameda County Court has been using the new court management software system…it was supposed to be an upgrade…but now public defenders and prosecutors agree.. It’s causing chaos… And could be hampering justice.
Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods said, “It’s more than frustrating. It’s completely outrageous.”
Woods said the new computer software that the county court is using is processing inaccurate records and causing legal nightmares.
“There are misdemeanor cases that are now felonies. We had a 12500 which is driving without a license show up as a felony,” Woods said
Woods filed a motion with the Alameda County Court blaming the software — called Odyssey – for wrongful arrest, unwarranted jail time and wrongly listing defendants in the system as sex offenders.
And in a court hearing Tuesday, court administration and even the district attorney all agreed, the software isn’t working. They call it cumbersome, requiring multiple steps, screens and clicks to complete one action, making it prone to mistakes.
Woods said, “What would take a court clerk a minute or two to update normally, takes them 20-25 minutes, so clerks who are really working hard and trying to keep up simply can’t.”
So for some defendants, they show up to court, have their warrants recalled, but the information doesn’t show up in the system.
In the worst examples, defendants are wrongly arrested on outdated warrants.
Woods said it is making the justice system “extremely inefficient.”
“I would say people’s constitutional rights are being violated on a daily basis,” Woods said.
The judge is giving parties a week to come up with a solution to the software. The problem now: money. The county already paid $4.5 million for Odyssey and would need to come up with new funds if they decide to replace it.
The maker of Odyssey tells the San Francisco Chronicle that it’s committed to supporting Alameda County, but that the problems aren’t the fault of the software and that it’s working just fine in other places.