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Atlanta ‘failure to appear’ court back open for first time since hack

UPDATE, published April 20, 2018: Atlanta Municipal Court announced on social media Friday that walk-in failure to appear court was functional for the first time since the cyberattack. 

The court operates on a first come, first served basis and those wishing to be heard should arrive at court by 7 a.m. each day. 

ORIGINAL STORY, published April 16, 2018: Atlanta’s municipal court held regular proceedings Monday for the first time since cyberattackers brought the city’s digital infrastructure to its knees last month, and those with dates in traffic court and elsewhere this week are expected to report as scheduled. 

But the underlying issues don’t exactly appear to be resolved. 

A city of Atlanta spokesperson said the ability to hold court Monday and moving forward was “due to the implementation of a manual paper-based process.” No update on the status of the court’s digital systems was provided.

“All cases scheduled for today and moving forward, including but not limited to traffic, housing, code and ordinance violations, criminal, parking, and traffic enforcement are being heard,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Atlanta Municipal Court, which handles cases ranging from traffic citations and DUIs to code violations and some criminal offenses, is believed to be one of the busiest courts in the Southeastern United States. It hears an average of 2,200 cases a day.

The court has been forced to reset court dates, however, since the original ransomware attack on Atlanta was reported March 22. Reset notices were or will be sent via mail, city officials have said. 

The city did not provide Monday a total number of number of cases that had been reset. 

“Resetting court dates is a common practice and one the Court is well equipped to do,” the spokeperson said. 

Failure to appear court, in which defendants who did not appear at prior court dates can resolve their issues, had also been closed since the cyberattack was reported. The city said Monday that individuals in FTA status could “appear in person with their questions, as circumstances vary from case to case.”

The mayor said she now thinks no one believed her when she mentioned the possibility of resignations in January.

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