He had been friend and mentor to many of Canton’s young lawyers and his legacy lives on through those who were so fortunate to have his guidance.
Those lawyers who found themselves on the other side of his cases experienced his tenacity, commitment, legal expertise, professionalism and ethics which were unsurpassed by any other. His example of these qualities touched each and every lawyer who knew him.
Any attorney seeking his advice or asking a legal question was first answered with some sarcastic or witty remark, then he would respond with a wise, well-considered analysis that cleared the muddy water.
The words that come to mind when I think of David Cannon are “a gentleman and a scholar.” It was important to him that new lawyers join in and carry on the values and ethics that exemplify a good lawyer and he was the first to jump in and assist in that regard.
David was one of Cherokee’s finest criminal defense lawyers. He had a strong commitment to Cherokee’s Indigent Defense program, which would have undergone a major overhaul when Georgia went to a Public Defender system.
The Cherokee County system was a well-oiled machine under the guidance of the TriPartite Committee of which David was a member and under the direction of Linda Hames.
Our system was not broken and did not need to be fixed so David led the effort for our county to “opt out” of Georgia’s system and keep our Indigent Defense program intact.
The Indigent Defense program is one in which a criminal defense lawyer is appointed to represent defendants who are not able to afford a lawyer.
The program requires a defendant’s application and request. Those who are incarcerated are automatically appointed an attorney as they have no income at that time.
If the defendant is not in custody, his or her ability to hire an attorney is considered before appointment is made. When the case is resolved, the defendant is required by the judge to reimburse the county for the amount charged by the attorney.
The amount the attorney is allowed to charge is set by the TriPartite Committee and is considerably less than most attorneys’ normal hourly rates.
Whether appointed or retained, David Cannon served his clients with the same dedication, commitment, and zealousness.
More often than not, a defense attorney is charged with “damage control” for his or her client. David was one of the best in evaluating a case and deciding if his client should go to trial before a jury or enter a plea of guilty.
Although David treated all his clients with respect, he was not known for his “bedside manner.” What he lacked in that area, he made up for with his tenacity when he took it to trial.
When David was asked if he could beat a case, he would say, “If you are looking for a guarantee, you need to go to Home Depot.”
When he was in trial, he would be completely focused on his case and could fail to even say hello if it was a particularly hard one. But all the lawyers understood this and no one ever took offense because we knew that is just what he did.
As an indigent defendant, if you drew David Cannon as your lawyer, you got the best lawyer money could buy.
The legal community of Cherokee County will not ever be the same without this dedicated man.
He was a lawyer’s lawyer. He has left a legacy of young lawyers who do it like he did and a son who is carrying on his commitment to his community.
One of the biggest joys of his life was seeing his son, David Cannon Jr., elected as a Superior Court Judge in this county. He was a legend in his own time and the legend lives on through all of those whose lives he touched.
He will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace, David L. Cannon, Sr.
Mike Chisolm graduated from Georgia State University College of Law in 1992. She has practiced law in Cherokee County for 20 years primarily in domestic and juvenile cases.