Cannon trial set for fall

(This well-worn file shot of Patrick Cannon is from his days in office, circa 2009)

Grant Brantley, the Atlanta-area judge assigned to the case of former Dade County Sheriff Patrick Cannon, set a new date for Cannon's trial at a May 4 hearing in Dade Superior Court.

"I have set another non-jury day for October 19th for any last minute non-jury matters and have set the jury trial for October 23, 2017," the judge announced by email shortly after the hearing.

Cannon served as Dade's top law enforcement officer for two terms, from 2005-20012, when he was defeated in the Republican primaries by current Sheriff Ray Cross. He was indicted in July 2015 on a string of violation-of-oath and theft-by-conversion felony charges, and his trial has been postponed four times since then.

His attorney, Christopher Townley, made a motion in October 2015--when the trial was originally scheduled--to move it to another venue, on the grounds that Cannon had too high a profile in Dade to be judged by an unbiased jury.

That motion remained pending from term to term--Dade Superior has only two jury sessions per year, held in April and October--as all Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit judges recused themselves from the case except Jon "Bo" Wood. Wood retired last year.

Now that the case is in Judge Brantley's hands, the motion will continue to pend until October. "I have deferred ruling on the change of venue after some dialogue with the attorneys until we start selecting jurors and know if we in fact have an issue," wrote the judge.

Cannon made headlines in late 2012, after his defeat by Cross, when he allegedly used a county credit card to buy thousands of dollars' worth of suits. Other charges against Cannon stem from allegations that he used public funds to pay personal phone bills and that he kept or sold confiscated property for his own benefit.

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