This Attack Causes Major Implications
Video Transcribed: Tulsa Municipal Court under a ransomware attack. I’m an attorney in Tulsa James Wirth. We’re talking about the consequences of the ransomware attack that is being afflicted on the city of Tulsa and how that is effective the Municipal Court.
So first off, as far as a ransomware attack, generally, that is where somebody hacks into a system, encrypts the data on the computers so that the owners of those computers don’t have access to it anymore. Then they request demand for a ransom, usually paid in some sort of cryptocurrency.
And then frequently when that’s paid, they then release the information and things can go back to normal, but without knowing exactly who the actors are and what their intentions are, that’s never a guarantee. Sometimes the ransom could be paid and access to the information may never come, but a lot of the time when you pay it, they do go ahead and release the information.
Under those circumstances, all of their computer systems are shut down and they’re going to use other methods to keep operating. That’s what they’ve been saying. Everything is still up for operation, but some websites and things may be down.
Now, those computers being shut down, that could be because they’re unusable based on the ransomware attack. It could be a precautionary measure in order to prevent the ransomware from spreading or to keep the integrity of the system in place while they investigate the ransomware attack.
Regardless, this video is more on how it is affecting the Municipal Court as attorneys and our clients are going through that process. So normally in the Municipal Court, you go down there, they have printed docket sheets that show everything that’s on the docket that day. And they pretty much use computer systems for everything that runs down there. Without the computer systems in place, they do not have the printed dockets down there.
However, for cases that are set on the docket, particularly one set for trial and things, those court files had already been pulled. So the court is aware that those things were to be set, but many other things without the court docket, the court doesn’t even know what’s set and what is not set. So if you do have something set, you can appear at the court, the court can recognize you back, get a new date. You may be able to still get some things accomplished.
But if you don’t show it to the court, the court may not be aware that you were supposed to, and therefore, cannot document that and cannot issue a warrant. Because of that, or perhaps because they use electronic systems to issue warrants anyway, the city has announced that they are not issuing any warrants at this time. So that’s the first thing that’s going on right now. No docket sheet. Second thing, no warrants being issued.
The other thing is that their access to police records and prior court records is not available at this time with the computers shut down. What that means is if we have a client and we’re trying to negotiate with the city on a plea deal, the city does not have a way to look for prior offenses in that same court for this individual.
So a couple of things with that. One, that can be to someone’s advantage. If they have a significant history, you may be able to work out a more favorable plea deal. The other instance though, where somebody has a clean history, right now, it sounds like prosecutors and the Municipal Court are not allowing deferred sentences.
They’re not giving out deferred sentences because they can’t verify that this person hasn’t previously had one or previously had other records. So that’s working against some people. Under those circumstances, if you’re in court, you’ve got a clean record, want to negotiate a plea deal, you may be better off continuing it until hopefully access to those records is restored. So another thing, no deferred sentence, no background checks because of that.
Also, no late fees. Given the circumstances, they are not accepting payment by debit card or credit card like they usually may be able to. You can still make payments through other means, cash, money order, that sort of thing, but they are not accepting payment through the electronic systems. Because of that, they are not doing late fees.
So the courts are still minimally up and running. All their computers are down so it does affect what they’re able to do. Background checks, notable. Pulling up the records, not able was filed, were previously pulled, knowing what’s on the court docket. It’s kind of up in the air at this point.
And it’s unclear at this point, what the end result of this is going to be. There are some rumors going around and in the attorney circles, that police records may have been permanently lost. My guess is that we probably don’t know that as of yet.
Usually these attackers in these ransomware attacks, normally they don’t want to destroy the data. They want to keep that data intact, but encrypted until they can secure a ransom. So my guess is that that data has not been destroyed, but it’s just too early to know what’s going on.
If you’ve got a court case pending in Municipal Court and have questions, how it may affect you, may need representation on that, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about your specific circumstances. To speak with somebody at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.