About Us

Attorney Jon Sheldon - Criminal Defense

Post conviction lawyers in Virginia

Mr. Sheldon focuses his work almost exclusively on criminal trials, criminal appeals and Post conviction in the state and federal courts. Mr. Sheldon is the author of the only treatise on habeas corpus and post-conviction remedies in Virginia: “Virginia Law and Practice: A Handbook for Attorneys – Virginia Continuing Legal Education (vacle.org),” VaCLE  2020, and is co-author of “Trial of Capital Murder Cases in Virginia,” VaCLE 2019. Mr. Sheldon started his career as a law enforcement officer.  After law school he gained a unique insight into the perspective and attitudes of federal judges by working on criminal appeals in his role as a pro se law clerk with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. Ten years later Mr. Sheldon took a year off from private practice to work as an attorney-advisor for the Federal Courts, focusing on advising attorneys on criminal appeals in the most serious cases.

Mr. Sheldon recently served for three years as the Chair of the Virginia State Bar’s annual conference on how to defend a capital murder case. Mr. Sheldon has either appeared in or been asked to consult on numerous books and television shows, including CNN, CBS News, Law & Order, Larry King Live, Laura Lippman’s book I’d Know You Anywhere, and is featured in the 2013 book Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys.

Mr. Sheldon is listed in Arlington Magazine as one of Virginia’s most respected attorneys, as nominated by his peers in the legal community

Attorney Jon Sheldon earned a reputation for a tireless, creative and skillful approach to cases that has resulted in winning our clients’ release from prison or overturning convictions via virtually every remedy imaginable including appeal, habeas corpus, writ of innocence, pardons, parole, motion to vacate, coram nobis, independent action for fraud, expungement, nunc pro tunc, motion for modification of sentence and other remedies.


  • William & Mary Law School – Williamsburg, VA. J.D. 1995
  • U.Mass, Amherst – B.S. in Mathematics 1987


  • Virginia Bar
  • Massachusetts Bar (1996-2018)
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • New York Bar (1996-2010)
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals For The D.C., 4th, 5th, 6th & 9th Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for D.C., E.D. & W.D. of Va., E.D. & W.D. of Ky., & S.D. of Tx.


Notable Cases

  • In Re Calvin Cunningham, Conditional Release for Terminally Ill Granted (May 3, 2021)
  • In Re Daniel Ford, Parole Granted (December, 2020, parole granted in Fishback case, cutting sentence in half)
  • In Re Weneta, Pardon Granted (April 23, 2020, conditional pardon granted by Governor Northam)
  • In Re Dion Coleman, Parole Granted (April 10, 2020, parole granted in case of a life sentence for a wrongful conviction of robbery and murder)
  • In re WatfordNo. 161187, 2018 Va. LEXIS 11 (Mar. 1, 2018) (granting Watford the first contested writ of innocence in the history of Virginia)
  • In Re Burns, Commutation Granted (December 29, 2017, commutation of sentence granted by Governor McAuliffe)
  • Contreras v. Davis, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11679 (E.D. Va. Jan. 26, 2017) (granting writ of habeas corpus for a new sentencing proceeding for a 15 year old sentenced to 77 years imprisonment).
  • Contreras v. Davis, 136 S. Ct. 1363 (2016) (granting Contreras’s appeal, reversing the Fourth Circuit’s adverse judgment and remanding for further proceedings)
  • Dir. of the Dep’t of Corr. v. Kozich, 779 S.E.2d 555 (Va. 2015) (granting Kozich a writ of habeas corpus)
  • Escamilla v. Superintendent, Rappahannock Reg’l Jail, 777 S.E.2d 864 (Va. 2015)
  • Dominguez v. Pruett, 756 S.E.2d 911 (Va. 2014)
  • Gray v. Pearson, 526 Fed. Appx. 331 (4th Cir. 2013) (reversing denial of habeas relief)
  • United States v. Khan, 451 Fed. Appx. 262 (4th Cir. 2011)
  • Williams v. Thaler, 602 F.3d 291 (5th Cir. 2010)
  • Burns v. Commonwealth, 688 S.E.2d 263 (Va. 2010) (reversing the Circuit Court’s denial of relief)