Court Hearing On Lawsuits Over Computer Problems At Shelby County Justice Center

Local News

Shelby County is now facing a third lawsuit from people who say they got lost in the jail because of a botched computer switchover at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center. The lawsuit was filed Monday in Federal Court.

It claims the county had been warned the new computer system would not efficiently work, but moved forward with it anyway. These lawsuits are starting to pile up.

Thursday was the first court appearance for people who filed a lawsuit Christmas Eve. At least one woman was in court who says she was stuck in jail days longer than she should have been.

“I was held in jail because of the computer being down,” said Ashley Robertson, former inmate.

Robertson says there was no reason for her to be stuck in jail. “I didn’t have to pay a bond. I was released on my own recognizance. I took my papers to the jail and they told me to have a seat. They couldn’t see it because the system was down and there was nothing they could do.”

It took two additional days before Robertson was set free. And she’s not alone.

Three lawsuits now all make similar claims – people stuck in the Shelby County Jail for days, not able to be released. Not able to be seen by a judge. Not able to have bond set. The list of issues goes on and on. The reason?

There were major problems when a new $10 million computer system for the jail, courts, and clerks was installed in November of last year.

Thursday in court, lawyers for the plaintiffs want the county to guarantee the evidence connected to this case won’t disappear or be deleted, because it’s all on computers.

“Given their tract record, we’re nervous about having things that may vanish, fall off, or be scrubbed, or deleted, even erroneously,” said Steve Wilson, lawyer for plaintiffs.

A spokesperson for Shelby County says employees are continuing to work on the ongoing issues with the new computer system, and problems are getting fixed. That being said, Robertson says, “I don’t want anyone to suffer what I went through.”

Thursday’s case, was in Shelby County Circuit Court. The other two are filed in federal court. All three lawsuits ask judges to rule them to be class action lawsuits.

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