Sakai says Bexar County is ‘doing our very, very best’ to fix new criminal justice management system

The Bexar County judge also denied strong-arming people who brought forward issues behind the scenes

SAN ANTONIO – The head of Bexar County’s government said people are working around-the-clock to fix the rocky rollout of the county’s new criminal justice management system.

Odyssey Case Manager was rolled out on May 30, but it has resulted in a host of issues. Incorrect verdicts and expunged records have appeared in the system, delayed releases from the county jail and — one defense attorney told KSAT — possibly even the release of people who should not have been.

“That is a confirmed rumor,” defense attorney Bobby Barrera told KSAT during a June 11 live interview. “I don’t have the name of the client, but I’ve talked to numerous people and to the lawyers who have that information directly from these people who have been released.”

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar has denied there have been any erroneous releases but said he was “extremely dissatisfied” with the new system.

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai noted he has asked the public for patience, saying there was “no blame here” and calling it a “very difficult, massive undertaking.”

“The last report I got yesterday is that there are people are working 24/7 and that they’re doing their very best,” Sakai said Wednesday when asked if there was an estimate for when issues would be resolved.

“I have gotten reports that the system — and I think I saw that report last night on KSAT. I think Bobby Barrera, the defense attorney, said that things were getting better — that he saw that things were going to get resolved. So I’ll take his optimism and assure the public that we’re doing our very, very best.”

Bexar County isn’t the only one to have had trouble with the software. KSAT found news stories of issues — and even lawsuits — related to software creator Tyler Technologies and its products in Lubbock County, Dallas County, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

The company did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Sakai, a former district court judge who took office in January 2023, said the vetting process had happened before his tenure as county judge. But he noted the county’s civil courts, children’s court, county, and justices of the peace have already been using the technology.

“‘Did they have glitches and issues?’ I’m sure they did when they rolled it out. But the criminal justice system is basically the last piece of getting us totally up in line with the Odyssey Tyler Technologies,” Sakai said.

Sakai said he did not know why the company had been picked by a previous commissioners court.

“But I can assure you that what we’re doing is holding Tyler Technologies accountable,” Sakai said.

“We’re going to want a complete review after it’s all said and done to see if Tyler met its contractual duties and obligations. If not, I’m going to...want some of my money — taxpayer money — back.”

A source who works with the county told KSAT Sakai had threatened people who bring problems with the rollout forward, allegedly telling them they needed to stop pointing fingers or complaining and find a fix. If not, he would remember them at budget time.

Sakai said he “refute(s) those allegations” and denied making any such statements.

When asked what he had told people who have come forward with issues, Sakai said he has had meetings with all stakeholders.

“If you recall, last week I had a press conference with the sheriff’s department, with the courts — also had the county present at that time. And we all came to an agreement that we would work together. And that is still my position today. We got (sic) an issue. We’re trying to fix the problems,” Sakai said.

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About the Authors

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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