City tries again with municipal courts' computer system

Last week, the Chronicle's Matt Stiles checked in on the latest state of affairs with the new computer system that has been giving Houston's municipal courts so much trouble:

If you ignored a city traffic ticket or skipped a hearing at Municipal Court in recent months, don't think you've been forgotten.

Court officials just stopped sending warning letters in April, fearing a new multimillion-dollar computer system that went online then might make some initial mistakes.

But now they have a new message for people on the "delinquent" list: Start checking your mail.

The city plans to announce today that warnings soon will be sent to 45,000 people whose cases are delinquent. Those who don't respond could face jail.

"We could issue a warrant, and they could be arrested," said Richard Lewis, the courts' top administrator.


Court officials had been working to input information for cases processed around the time of the conversion. They caught up recently. Lewis said court administrators now feel comfortable that notices won't be sent to people who have already paid their fines or made mandatory court appearances.

KRIV-26's man about town, Isiah Carey, reports that people he's talked to aren't as comfortable as Lewis:

[A]s FOX reported and The Insite learned possibly thousands of people got notices of warrants over the weekend for allegedly missing court dates that have not yet happened. The city says its human error but court insiders say it's the problem plagued computer system that the city paid millions for after council approval. This is just the latest in a long line of problems with municipal courts new system that was suppose to cut down on the paperwork and streamline the system. So if you get a notice for a possible warrant on a court date that has not yet occurred then call the city's 311 line to try and clear it up before the cops take you in...

This is probably not the last we've heard about the municipal courts' computer system.

PREVIOUSLY: New municipal court computer system plods along.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 07/18/06 08:47 AM | Print |

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