Cannon was a longtime defense attorney in our community and was well known in the judicial community.
One of my first encounters with Mr. Cannon was the result of a DUI trial in which I had arrested his client. At the time, I was a young and very inexperienced deputy sheriff. Although the Sheriff’s Office has some of the best training in the state, there is no greater teacher than experience.
Mr. Cannon called me to the stand to question me. Let’s just say that it did not go well for me.
With his years of experience, Mr. Cannon had little problem in bringing forth reasonable doubt into the jury members’ heads.
We all waited and not very long for the jury to come back with their verdict. Not guilty. The experienced attorney had used his skills to do his job in getting his client freed from further problems with this incident.
As a young deputy, I felt somewhat dejected. But as soon as the jury was excused and the judge left the bench, Mr. Cannon came walking toward me.
I was a little intimidated as he had just annihilated me on the stand. However, he asked me if he could talk to me for a few minutes before I left the courthouse. I followed him into a conference room where it was only the two of us.
Mr. Cannon didn’t call me to the room to gloat. He didn’t call me to the room to further interrogate me on my lack of investigative skills.
No. He called me to the room to talk to me about the problems with my case form the defense point of view. He very kindly told me ways to right the things I had done wrong in order for me to be more successful in the future.
Mr. Cannon could have easily walked out of the courtroom without ever saying a word to me. But he didn’t do that. He took his time to help a young and inexperienced officer become a better one.
So why did he do that? He did it because he cared about preserving the quality of life in Cherokee County.
Yes, he was an attorney who represented criminals. But that didn’t mean he supported their actions.
And for a fact, I can assure you that he didn’t. But he was merely doing his part in making sure that law enforcement did their job, the courts did their job, and his clients got a fair trial as afforded by the Constitution.
There have been many times over the past 20 years that Mr. Cannon was either hired or appointed to represent people in local high profile cases. He was chosen because he was good.
I have heard many say that he was the best in criminal law. And many of those times, he had cases that there was no way he could win.
But that didn’t stop him from doing his job. He fought just as hard in those cases as he did in others. For he believed in the Constitution — as should we all.
Mr. Cannon’s son, David Cannon Jr., is also an attorney. But he has spent most of his time working the other side of the bench.
He was elected and served as Solicitor General for the past several years. But this year he was elected to Superior Court Judge.
Mr. Cannon will not get the chance to see his son on the bench as a Superior Court Judge. But I have no doubt that it brought him joy in his last days knowing that it was going to happen.
Because Mr. Cannon no doubt loved the judicial system. He knew it wasn’t a perfect system, but no system is. But it is better than any system in the world.
This will be a tough holiday season for the Cannon family.
And my prayers will certainly be with them.
But I want his family to know that one person from the law enforcement community will miss Mr. Cannon.
And I am sure that there are many others in law enforcement that would say the same.
We will miss him because he made us better at doing our jobs. Thus, making Cherokee County a safer and better place to live.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.