SHREVEPORT, La. – A Shreveport man convicted two years ago of the murder of a Shreveport police officer wants his conviction overturned.
Attorney Lee Harville represented Grover Cannon on Tuesday’s appeal before a three-member panel of 2NS Circuit Court of Appeals. Harville says Cannon’s Sixth Amendment right to control his defense was violated during his trial because his trial attorney went against his wishes. .
Cannon was sentenced in 2019 following the shooting death of Officer Thomas LaValley in August 2015 when he was responding to a disruptive call at Cannon’s home in the Queensborough neighborhood. He was shot six times.
A neighbor told the jury he saw Cannon run out of the house after the shot was fired.
Cannon doesn’t want to admit he’s at home, but also doesn’t support the claim to defend himself, Harville said.
He based his appeal on a McCoy v Louisiana-style case in which the plaintiff, Robert McCoy, argued that his attorney admitted his guilt without his permission. . The U.S. Supreme Court agreed and said the Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to choose their defense. The decision overturned McCoy’s three counts of murder, and his case is still pending retrial in Bossier County Court.
Harville admitted during the interrogation of Judge James “Jimbo” Stephens that at no time did Cannon’s trial attorney, Dwight Doskey, admit to Cannon’s guilt. In fact, when Cannon stood up during the trial’s penalty kick, Doskey’s questions about him were prepared by Cannon.
Harville said that Cannon was “forced” to write those questions. He based that on eight months before the trial, where Doskey told the trial judge he would argue the right to self-defense.
The trial judge was wrong to allow that defense to continue, Harville claimed.
“The judge never ordered them not to. They presented through questioning witnesses, evidence and arguments that would show in their opinion that Officer LaValley was the aggressor in this case and that Mr. guard,” said Harville.
Judge Frances Pitman asked, “He wants an alibi. That is it?
Harville said that Cannon wanted a defense that was “honestly unfounded in practice.” Cannon did not want to argue his right to self-defense because doing so would mean he was accepted at home.
“I don’t think he decides to defend realistically,” Harville said.
Caddo Assistant District Attorney Tommy Johnson argued that Cannon’s defense facts differed from the McCoy case. At McCoy, the defendant protested before, during, and after the trial that his attorney had gone against his wishes. He also tried to fire his lawyer two days before the trial.
Johnson said there were no objections to the filing or petition during Cannon’s trial.
Self-defense is one of the strategies of national defense. Cannon also spoke of the shooting as the result of a law enforcement plot against him, Johnson said.
The Court of Appeal accepted the appeal. No time has been given for a ruling, but it can often take up to six months.
Cannon is serving a life sentence. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty the state requested.