RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — “People think that they’ve done everything that they have to do to get a clean record and yet maybe not,” said attorney Zack Ezor.
The “people” Ezor is referring to are clients who claim they are among the hundreds who have been unlawfully detained.
The arrests are blamed on flaws in the new software system eCourts, which was rolled out in Wake, Johnston, Harnett and Lee counties last February. They are serving as pilot counties before the $100 million eCourts system launches across the rest of the state.
“The fact remains that these problems are persisting, and you know even months into this now we’re still hearing from people every single week about defects in the system,” said Ezor.
Multiple attorneys have told CBS 17 that those defects have included slowdowns, courtroom backlogs, inaccessibility to client files and private information being made public.
But it’s the arrests, after charges have been dismissed, that are at the center of accusations in a class action complaint filed against software company Tyler Technologies.
“It’s just completely upended their lives, it’s caused them to spend more time in jail than they should, it’s caused them to lose jobs, it’s caused them to live with the uncertainty of ‘am I going to be picked up on something that I thought was resolved’,” said Ezor.
Ezor is one of the attorneys who filed the complaint.
In a request for comment Tyler Technologies released a statement to CBS 17 that said “as a standard practice, we do not comment on pending litigation.”
Tyler is no stranger to being sued. The company has faced litigation for its court software in other states.
While there have been improvements since the North Carolina four-county launch, Ezor said more needs to be done to prevent additional unlawful arrests.
“Just a way to make sure if somebody comes to you and says woe this is wrong, just check the system you’ll see my charges have been dismissed. That you can take a look, take care of it, maybe handle it on paper if you need to but just something to make sure that if these problems continue to arise, which we think they will, there’s an out,” he said.
As for the motivation behind the lawsuit, Ezor said it’s as much about the future as it is about the past.
“Every person that we’ve talked to they’ve said ‘I called you because I don’t want this to happen to someone else. I’ve called you because I know that the chance of me getting some sort of justice, compensation or whatever might be low, but I just know this is going to be rolled out more broadly and I don’t want this to keep happening’,” Ezor said.
The defendants in the class action complaint were served Monday and they have 30 days to respond.