Grover Cannon appealing conviction in killing of Shreveport police Officer Thomas LaValley in 2015

Grover Cannon, who was convicted of killing Shreveport police officer, Thomas LaValley, is...
Grover Cannon, who was convicted of killing Shreveport police officer, Thomas LaValley, is appealing his life sentence. A hearing was held Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.(KSLA)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 11:09 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 5:36 PM CST

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — In 2019, Grover Cannon was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Shreveport police Officer Thomas LaValley.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, lawyers for the convicted cop killer were back in court, arguing to overturn that conviction before a three-judge panel of the Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal.

During 20 minutes of oral arguments, Cannon’s appellate attorney argued that his client’s Sixth Amendment right to choose the objective of his defense was violated, when Cannon’s lawyers presented a self-defense argument at trial over Cannon’s objection.

Over the course of the weeklong trial back in 2019, Cannon and his lead defense lawyer, Dwight Doskie, sparred on multiple occasions in court when Doskie tried presenting evidence of self-defense. Cannon wanted lawyers to argue to the 12-member jury that he was not in the Queensboro home back in 2015 at the time LaValley was shot and killed, and that his arrest was part of a law enforcement conspiracy.

Grover Cannon
Grover Cannon

The defense portion of the trial presented an odd moment for the court when Doskie was essentially tasked with presenting both defenses to the jury, and at times, cross examining witnesses with questions written on a piece of yellow legal paper by Cannon.

While Cannon was eventually found guilty of first-degree murder, he avoided the death penalty for killing LaValley, and instead got life in prison with no possibility of parole or early release after the jury failed to return a unanimous decision to end Cannon’s life in the sentencing phase of the trial.

However, citing the case of McCoy v. Louisiana, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, Cannon’s appellate attorney argued Judge Ramona Emanuel erred and violated his Sixth Amendment right to choose his own defense when she failed to stop Doskie from pursuing the self-defense strategy.

The state rebuffed Cannon’s argument during its 15 minutes of allotted time by telling the justices Cannon’s preferred defense of conspiracy based on his alleged absence from the murder scene was in fact presented to the jury, and the secondary defense of self-defense in no way prejudiced Cannon’s rights.

The three judge panel took the arguments of counsel under advisement, and no timeline was given as to when a written opinion and decision in the case may be expected.

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