State News

Interim chief of SBI crime lab backs away from job

Posted September 29, 2010
Updated September 30, 2010

— The man appointed to temporarily oversee North Carolina’s embattled crime lab is no longer going to take the job, leaving the agency without a leader as it tries to rebuild its reputation.

Gerald Arnold, a former chief judge of the state Appeals Court, said Wednesday he realized after offering to help that he wouldn’t be able to handle a job with such a large time commitment.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general said officials were frustrated by the development.

“I went home and thought about it and realized I really just didn’t have the time,” Arnold said. “I just felt like maybe I was taking on more than a 70-year-old man was up to right now.”

Attorney General Roy Cooper appointed Arnold earlier this moth to serve as interim director of the State Bureau of Investigation crime lab. Cooper wanted Arnold to lead a review of all sections of the crime lab to ensure that results were accurate and properly reported.

“The key here is going to be to make sure we solve the problems, restore the public confidence in the SBI and move forward with them solving crimes, protecting the public and exonerating innocent people,” Cooper said in a news conference three weeks ago, announcing Arnold’s appointment.

Arnold said Wednesday he was unaware of the news conference and said he should have asked leaders to slow down on the appointment process. He added that he was impressed by Cooper and other SBI officials.

An independent review of serology unit cases released last month called for a thorough examination of 190 criminal cases, stating information that could have helped defendants was sometimes misrepresented or withheld.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, said in a statement that officials were “frustrated with this unfortunate development” but believe they have found a replacement who could be confirmed soon.

"Day-to-day operations at the lab continue to be led by a management team under the direction of SBI Director (Greg) McLeod, which has been the case since a national search for a new permanent lab director began last month," she said.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 1, 2010

    The SBI Lab is like the accountant in the following joke.

    Take a salesman, an engineer, and an accountant into a room. Ask them what 2 plus 2 is. The engineer says 4.000. The engineer says 4 plus or minus 10%. The account asks "what do you want it to be".

  • ncguy Sep 30, 2010

    good for him...
    see ya Bev... i won't be part of your Titanic team...

  • oleguy Sep 30, 2010

    Whats it pay, I'll take it, and provide my own transportation to and from work.

  • didisaythat Sep 29, 2010

    By your statement I am assuming you are a scientist, did you get your opinion on what the SBI is being criticized for from the news.? Because what I read and what I know about the SBI they were not doin that. But the scientists did learn one thing. Defense attorneys will do anything to get someone off. Including tearing an agency down.

  • Glenn Miller Sep 29, 2010

    @didisaythat.. BRAVO, BRAVO!!!!!

  • didisaythat Sep 29, 2010

    Maybe he realized that the citizens and politicians are so against law enforcement these days, especially on GOLO, that he said this is not worth it. You may see less issues with agencies if more people were behind law enforcement instead of trying to kick them down all the time. Amazing it seems like more people can identify with a criminal than a police officer now days. Shows how society has fallen.

  • Inter Alios Sep 29, 2010

    Gerald Arnold, by all accounts, is a man of integrity, but does not have a science background. He was recruited by Cooper because of his integrity in an effort to restore credibility to the SBI. No true scientist wants to be put into a position whereby scientific results are manipulated to benefit police and prosecutors at the expense of the falsely accused.

  • pbyrley Sep 29, 2010

    I don't think Cooper is the proper person to make the appointment - he sat on top of the either incompetence or crookedness at SBI until the N&O blew the whistle on him. The state budget is not going to allow recruiting any first class people so we will see the same bad performance at SBI over and over again. Suggestion - remove the good ole boys network of state liquor stores and let capitalism reign like all first class state governments do.

  • mgratk Sep 29, 2010

    Hmm, I think I have a new comedy to pitch to CBS: CSI:NC.

  • Sherlock Sep 29, 2010

    Smart individual. Guilt by assocation, + if things go wrong during this time he will get nailed.