Bexar County’s new criminal case management system plagued with errors, missing information

SAN ANTONIO – A system that was supposed to modernize the way the county deals with criminal cases has rolled out with many problems.

Odyssey Case Manager was rolled out on May 30, but courtrooms are finding that case information is difficult to obtain and, in some cases, inaccurate.

Odyssey replaces the old system that hadn’t been updated in over 50 years.

The new software will allow all departments involved in a criminal case to access a case file and update and input information as it develops.

This week, complaints started pouring into KSAT 12 about errors, missing information and mistakes in files.

“When you’re moving from a 1972 DOS system over into a modern-day web-based program, you can expect there’s going to be a lot of issues,” 379th District Court Judge Ron Rangel said.

Rangel, who was a part of the committee that helped acquire the new Odyssey system, said it was supposed to be rolled out a couple of years ago but there were complications.

Rangel said some of the issues he’s personally seen are cases being populated with no case numbers or any sort of documentation attached to them.

Attorney Bobby Barrera said defense attorneys are struggling to get information about their clients.

“So frustrations are — dismissed cases are showing active, cases where people have been acquitted, or showing they’re convicted,” Barrera said. “The computer at the same time shows they’re in jail when they’re on bond or shows they’re on bond when they’re in jail.”

Barrera said he understands glitches and problems when new systems are rolled out but said the county had almost four years to prepare for this.

“None of that affects the fact that a person’s constitutional rights are being violated by an unlawful detention,” Barrera said. “So while the issues are being worked out, it doesn’t help that person who’s sitting in jail for days when he’s supposed to have been released already. When you deal with a person’s liberty, the significance of having immediate access to information is paramount.”

KSAT 12 found a sexual assault case where a man was found not guilty by a jury, but the court record indicates a guilty verdict. That defendant’s attorney told KSAT 12 the case was expunged and shouldn’t be showing up at all.

Both Barrera and Rangel said that patience is going to be needed as the country tries to resolve the problems.

“It’s business as usual at the courthouse,” Rangel said. “It’s a matter of making sure that we work through these processes with some patience and communication.”

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