Detroit Crime Lab Crisis Results in Another New Trial

Case Marks Fifth New Trial Granted to a SADO Client
Jerah Arnold was convicted of second-degree murder and felony firearm in June 2004 by a Wayne County jury and sentenced to 22 ½ years to 50 years imprisonment plus 2 years consecutive.  This marked his third trial as the first two trials ended in hung juries.  The evidence against Mr. Arnold at trial consisted of the problematic testimony of two eyewitnesses who identified him as the shooter, along with critical ballistics evidence linking him to the scene.  The prosecution never provided any motive for the shooting and never provided any link between Mr. Arnold and the victim.  The stories of the eyewitnesses conflicted with one another and were not corroborated by the physical evidence.  Additional evidence against Mr. Arnold came from a January 2003 firearms report prepared by firearm examiners at the Detroit Crime Lab stating that all 36 shell casings found on the crime scene came from a gun recovered from Mr. Arnold’s home.  In March 2011, SADO’s Crime Lab Unit reviewed Mr. Arnold’s questionnaire for assistance and flagged his case for an in depth review.  In July 2011, a Cooley law school student reviewed Mr. Arnold’s case and recommended further action.  In August 2011, the Crime Lab Unit requested that the ballistics evidence be retested by the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office submitted the evidence for retesting.  The Michigan State Police issued a report in November 2011 stating that the characteristics of the casings from the scene suggested that they were not fired from the gun recovered from Mr. Arnold’s home.  Two of the casings exhibited characteristics similar to tests shots from the recovered weapon, but MSP was unable to make a positive identification or elimination.  In October 2012, the prosecutor’s office stipulated to Mr. Arnold’s Motion for Relief from Judgment and for New Trial based on the unique facts and issues of his case.  In February 2013, Mr. Arnold pled guilty to second degree murder and felony firearm in exchange for a sentence agreement of 6 to 8 years imprisonment plus 2 years consecutive.  On March 18, 2013, Mr. Arnold was sentenced in accordance with that agreement and was released from custody after serving over 10 years in prison.