BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Supreme Court has once again put a halt to jury selection in the trial of Grover Cannon while it reviews an emergency appeal by his defense team.
Jury selection had been underway since March 25 in the capital murder trial. Cannon is accused of killing Shreveport Police Officer Thomas LaValley in August 2015 while he was responding to a domestic call.
Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel had previously denied motions made by Cannon’s attorneys to throw out the current pool of prospective jurors and start over because they failed to represent a cross-section of the East Baton Rouge community.
While residents are eligible beginning at the age of 18, 19th Judicial District Court administrators have said a computer glitch prevented anyone under the age of 26 from being called.
The state supreme court had already put a halt to proceedings earlier in the week, ordering Emanuel to hold a hearing on the issue. Emanuel held that hearing on Wednesday and resumed jury selection Thursday morning after rejecting the defense’s argument that Cannon’s constitutional right to a representative jury had been violated.
Emanuel ruled that the exclusion of 18-to-25-year-olds from the jury pool was neither intentional nor deliberate and would not affect the trial. Cannon’s defense team immediately appealed and the Louisiana Supreme Court granted a request for an emergency stay late Thursday afternoon.
The trial will remain on hold until the higher court can review the case.
Jurors were being selected in East Baton Rouge because the state successfully argued in January that the murder of another police Shreveport officer Chatéri Payne could prejudice a Caddo Parish jury against Cannon.
Once the jury is selected in East Baton Rouge, they will be brought back to Caddo Parish and sequestered for the remainder of the trial.
Cannon faces the death penalty if convicted.