In a decision released Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction of Grover Cannon, found guilty of the August 5, 2015 slaying of Shreveport Police officer Thomas LaValley.
A jury in Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel’s court convicted Cannon of Shreveport in November 2019. LaValley was shot numerous times after he responded to a disturbance call at Cannon’s home in the Queensborough neighborhood. Cannon faced the death penalty. When the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on that, he was sentenced to life in prison.
In his appeal, Cannon contended his Sixth Amendment rights were violated “when the trial court allowed defense counsel to present a self-defense argument over his express objection,” the decision states.  But the court noted that “trial management is the lawyer’s province: Counsel provides his or her assistance by making decisions such as what arguments to pursue, what evidentiary objections to raise, and what agreements to conclude regarding the admission of evidence.”
The decision further states “it is apparent from this record trial counsel did not concede, admit, or suggest the defendant committed any element of the offense of first degree murder. Counsel also clearly expressed the defendant’s assertion he did not commit the crime.”
In summation, the court found that “defense counsel, by skillfully framing the claim of self-defense, avoided admitting the defendant’s guilt. Therefore, counsel avoided violating the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights…”
Cannon was represented by Douglas L. Harville. Acting for Caddo District Court were Assistant District Attorneys Tommy Johnson, Edwin L. Blewer, William J. Edwards and Ron C. Stamps.
Appeal Judges were Frances Jones Pitman, James M. “Jimbo” Stephens and Marcus Hunter. The decision was authored by Justice Hunter and is numbered No. 54,013-KA. It can be downloaded from the Court website at