Friday, October 20, 2017 Elyria 43°


Computer woes hamper Justice Center workers


ELYRIA — The Lorain County justice system slowed to a crawl Thursday because of a problem that cut off access to computers that employees at the Lorain County Justice Center use to manage court dockets, record hearings and prepare documents.

“Everything we do is practically on a network,” county Probate Judge James Walther said.

Ernie Smith, who serves as information technology director for the county commissioners, said the problem stemmed from the “core switch,” which connects the Justice Center’s computers to the nearby Lorain County Administration Building.

He said the core is basically “the brains of the network” and without it, the servers used by court staff were inaccessible.

Smith also said the damage to the core wasn’t connected to the power outage that closed the Justice Center on Wednesday.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said the core was installed when the Justice Center was built roughly a decade ago and is under a lifetime warranty. The county received a new part Thursday, but it didn’t work when it was installed.

He said the county must order a new part. In the meantime, workers cobbled together a temporary solution that had the computers back online about 3 p.m. Thursday.

Domestic Relations Court Administrator Jody Barilla said that although a lot of documents couldn’t be processed, the courts continued to function and hearings were held.

“I think we did a pretty good job functioning without the computers, even though they were definitely missed,” she said.

For instance, magistrates for Domestic Relations and Juvenile courts typically use computers to record hearings. When those weren’t available, Barilla said, magistrates used handheld recorders or court reporters to keep record of the hearings.

Walther said his staff was able to serve the public, even if they couldn’t always immediately input information. He said his staff also caught up on work that didn’t require computers.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

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