Info still not available online years after law was passed

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It was a North Carolina law that was supposed to make it easy for the public to find out what any judge or prosecutor or even defense attorney has done with DWI cases.  All you had to do was go online to the state court system's website and look it up.

But six years after lawmakers passed that law, Eyewitness News has learned that information is still not available online.

It was called the Motor Vehicle Driver Protection Act and it required the Administrative Office of the Courts to post the results of DWI cases online, breaking it down by county, judge, prosecutor and defense attorney.

But six years later, you won't find that information on the AOC's website because lawmakers told the AOC they wouldn't have to post it online until the courts overhauled their statewide computer system, and that still hasn't happened.

"They did not give us the funds to make sure it happened," said Basil McVey, the chief information officer for the AOC.

McVey said it would cost about $15 million to upgrade the computer system, but the budget has actually been going the other direction, cut by 25 percent.

"Again, it's priorities, General Assembly mandates -- unfunded mandates," McVey said.

"Well, anybody's going to point to lack of funding," said Rep. Becky Carney of Charlotte, who had supported the bill.

Carney wasn't aware that the data still isn't available until Eyewitness News told her. She said other lawmakers weren't either, and she said it's something lawmakers need to address.

"We've got to get serious about funding our court system, and I think the public is aware that that's going to have to happen," Carney said.

A spokesman for the AOC said they hope to get some of the DWI data posted online later this year or early next year, but most of it would not be online until that computer system is overhauled, and that could be years away.