The Mecklenburg County Courthouse is increasing its caseload after the rollout of a new online system, but while the goal is to make things smoother, it appears to be taking a more “slow and steady” approach.
Channel 9 Crime Reporter Hunter Sáenz heard from people who say there’s a love-hate relationship with the new Odyssey system. While attorneys have access to court documents and information at their fingertips, things inside the courtroom itself are going painstakingly slow.
Keasja Poole arrived at the courthouse Monday morning for her first appearance, and it’s something that would usually be wrapped up before lunchtime.
But by 1 p.m., Poole said, “They still haven’t called the docket for the people who are in the courtroom.”
Four hours later, she was still waiting.
“It’s very frustrating, very frustrating,” Poole said.
It’s because of the Odyssey rollout, which Channel 9 has reported on for months.
Even the judge admitted the upgrade “has made our systems in this courtroom much slower.”
Poole said, “I think it’s a big mistake and they need to go back to what they know, because this is not working for the people.”
Last week’s first appearances went well into the night, long after business hours.
On Friday, there were 75 people on the docket, but this week that increased to 146.
“It just takes so long to process cases,” said George Laughrun, a longtime defense attorney in Mecklenburg County.
Channel 9 learned that the Odyssey rollout has also impacted the time it takes to release inmates from jail. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office says some inmates have waited up to eight hours before actually being released, when it used to take between one and three hours before the rollout.
Laughrun says there are positives to the system, but there are more kinks that need to be worked out.
“The portals we can get information from is great,” Laughrun said. “The problem is when you get to the courthouse, it’s a nightmare.”
Another woman said she had to find childcare all day Monday during the delay.
“It’s painstaking for everybody; the judges, the attorneys, the victims, the suspects — everybody that’s in court right now, it’s frustrating for everybody,” she said.
The bottom line is that the court says this will take time, and officials are asking for the public’s patience.
(WATCH: Delay in software update impacts cases at Mecklenburg County Courthouse)
Elaine Hadley is a dedicated journalist covering the ever-evolving landscape of U.S. news. With a keen interest in politics and a commitment to uncovering the truth, she provides insightful commentary and in-depth analysis on domestic issues. When not reporting, Elaine enjoys exploring the diverse cultures and landscapes of the United States.