‘Bexar Co. is not alone’: North Carolina DA speaks about problems state has had with online court system

Mecklenburg County DA Spencer Merriweather says North Carolina a year after Odyssey rollout still dealing with issues

SAN ANTONIO – Other states using the same court management system that Bexar County rolled out two weeks ago have dealt with the same issues currently causing problems here.

Odyssey by Tyler Technologies is an online system that stores criminal cases and it was recently implemented throughout the county.

The same software has been used across the nation.

In 2023, North Carolina rolled out the software to the entire state, county by county.

“We were warned, or at least given some level of caution by other jurisdictions,” said Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather.

Mecklenburg County is home to Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina.

Despite the warning signs, the state of North Carolina paid $100 million for the Tyler Technologies software.

North Carolina started using the software in 2023 and Merriweather said problems started popping up immediately.

“What we know now, even a year into this, is that it takes more people to accomplish less and more time,” Merriweather said. “Which is not necessarily what someone thinks of when they think about a technological advance.”

A federal lawsuit in North Carolina claims that the eCourts launch caused people to spend days or weeks longer in jail than they were supposed to. Others have been arrested repeatedly on the same warrant, even after their charge was dismissed by a judge.

“Bexar County is not alone in Texas in experiencing those issues,” Merriweather said. “I know that recently, Dallas had their fair share of issues as well. So, I’m not necessarily surprised by it.”

KSAT has recently reported about some of those issues including backlogs and delays in booking and releasing inmates, and cases with missing information and mistakes.

An order from the Texas Supreme Court mandates that all counties integrate their court filing system with an electronic filing service called re:SearchTX.

It’s a website that compiles court records statewide and is run by Tyler Technologies, the same company behind the software that Bexar County is now struggling with.

Bexar County was up against a deadline of Oct. 1 to make the transition.

A spokeswoman with the Texas Office of Courts Administration said the Texas Supreme Court does not mandate which case management system should be used at the county level.

The lawsuit in North Carolina is still pending. Here in Bexar County, we are unaware of any lawsuits being filed so far.

Earlier this week, Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai said the county is doing what it can to fix the problems.

KSAT 12 contacted Tyler Technologies about the issues and was sent the following statement from the company’s public affairs manager:

“While we are unable to accommodate an interview at this time, we would like to provide the following information regarding our solutions and the implementation in Bexar County:

We have been working closely with the county to address and resolve implementation concerns. This is a large-scale implementation and the county’s change management practices are following the traditional protocols for a project of this magnitude. Throughout this transition, we are unaware of any software or systemic technical issues impeding core work.

Each jurisdiction we serve is unique in terms of function, software integration, data integrity, and management. Courts and jails across the country successfully use the same system currently being implemented in Bexar County.

Dedicated teams from Tyler and Bexar County are working diligently to ensure the project remains on track and that appropriate training is available for the involved offices and justice partners. Tyler Technologies remains committed to this effort for the long-term.”

About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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