Pedestrians cross the street in front of the Albany Judicial Building. Digital court documents from cases thought to be lost last week when a computer database failed have been recovered. The cause
for the failure is still under investigation.
ALBANY UPDATE: Hundreds of thousands of digital court documents thought to have been lost when the Clerk of Court's database and its backup mysteriously failed, have now been recovered, Dougherty County Clerk Evonne Mull says.
Mull said that a third-party company, IronData, managed to fix the problem that initially led clerks officials to say that all digital versions of documents from civil and criminal court cases in both state court and superior court filed since Feb. 14, 2011 had been lost, and that the files had been recovered.
While the cause of the mishap is still being investigated, Mull said the explanation she's received from the joint city-county information technology department is that the power went out last Monday and the battery backup that was supposed to keep the clerk's database server up and running also failed.
However, Mull contends that she and her staff were using the system for at least an additional two days before files began corrupting.
Even if the digital files had been lost, Mull says that her office keeps the original paper copies in a vault in the courthouse and they send digital copies to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks Authority's servers.
Mull said that as a result of this incident, her office will add two additional layers of redundancy to her records retention program and send another copy of the files to IronData and will backup the files on tape each day.
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Hundreds of thousands of digital documents scanned into the Dougherty County Clerk of Court's computer database have been lost following some kind of computer glitch last week, officials say.
Dougherty County Clerk of Court Evonne Mull says that the county's Information Technology team is currently working with a third-party data company to try and retrieve the documents that were lost, which include all of the records pertaining to State and Superior Courts civil and criminal dockets, she said.
"It's horrible because I handle everything except birth, death and marriage records. Can you imagine losing all of your data for the last year?" Mull said. "We're at a real delicate time. We're hoping and praying that this crisis will resolve itself."
Should any of the digital copies not be recovered, Mull said that her office has hard copies of everything that's filed and would re-scan the documents into the database.
The county's I/T department is working to determine how the failure occurred. Mull said that the problem was isolated to her office only and that safeguards meant to serve as a backup to protect the database, also failed.
Mull said that her office is currently in "wait and see" mode, meaning that they aren't uploading any new documents until the problem is fixed.
"Right now, we're just in a wait and see mode," Mull said. "Hopefully they'll be able to recover it. My office is willing to do whatever it takes to the records restored into the system."
The database, known in the building as the case management software, allows users to follow current and past cases that were processed by the courts in Dougherty County. Bundled in that software are scanned, PDF copies of the actual court filings, pleadings, sentencings, and documents that were filed with the clerk's office.