Websites and computer programs linked to Philadelphia’s court system have been shut down since Tuesday afternoon, according to sources.
“The First Judicial District has experienced a virus intrusion on a limited number of computers," city spokesperson Mike Dunn said in a statement Thursday.
“To safeguard other systems,” the district and the city’s Office of Innovation and Technology “shut down certain court IT functions to fully review and clean the operating systems,” Dunn said. “This is a necessary step to contain the virus.”
Added Dunn: “This was not a data breach nor a ransomware attack. All court proceedings are taking place as scheduled.”
Because of the precautions, certain computer operating systems and websites — the First Judicial District’s website and the online civil docket search — have been inoperable.
Online criminal dockets, which are on a statewide portal system, are still accessible.
The cautionary shutdown also affected electronic programs, including the eFiling system for civil and criminal cases, used by attorneys to file pleadings, motions, and petitions. And the public Criminal Document Management System, which allows people to access court filings at public computers in the Stout Center for Criminal Justice, also has been inaccessible. People can still look at paper files.
During the shutdown, court staffers have not been able to access their work email.
It was not known Thursday when the computer programs and websites would be running again.
Defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. said Thursday that his office uses the eFiling system regularly. “With the system down, we’ve simply had our couriers delivering motions to the court,” he said.
Dunn said city government computers have not been impacted by the virus.
The First Judicial District tweeted Wednesday: “We are currently experiencing network issues with our website. We are working to restore connectivity. We apologize for the inconvenience."
On Thursday, the court system tweeted notices asking people who want to file documents to be patient, saying that emergency civil filings can be made in person in Room 296 at City Hall and criminal filings can be made in person at the Office of Judicial Records in the Stout Center.