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Criminal Justice

Power Outage Puts Broward Courts, Sheriff’s Deputies and Lawyers Back in Pre-Computer ‘Stone Age’

Posted Oct 24, 2011 3:26 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A power outage in South Florida's busy Broward County forced court clerks, sheriff's deputies and lawyers, among others, to work in practically prehistoric conditions without computers or email for at least much of the afternoon.

Court dockets weren't accessible, sheriff's deputies had to use their radios to call in license plates instead of using their computers to run the numbers themselves and it appears that those in custody aren't likely to be making bond until the system is back up, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Broward Politics blog.

“If the system’s down, the jail won’t be able to verify bonds,” assistant public defender Gordon Weekes told the newspaper, explaining that his office relies heavily on the court clerk's website for scheduling and defendant release information. Hence, he notes, the outage is going to be even harder on clients than court personnel.

"It affects us, but it could affect our clients even more. Computer hiccups should not prolong their incarceration," he said. "An outage of this sort would put us back in the stone age.”

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