Mr. Sheldon has won simple pardons, conditional pardons, medical pardons, and commutations of sentences for Virginia clients. Pardon Parole in Virginia practice is unique – it is less a legal remedy and more a small political campaign.
“The Governor is vested with the power to (1) grant reprieves; (2) grant pardons; and (3) commute capital punishment.” “A pardon may be full or partial, absolute or conditional.” A conditional pardon is “[a] pardon that does not become effective until the wrongdoer satisfies a prerequisite or that will be revoked upon the occurrence of some specified act.” A partial pardon is “[a] pardon that exonerates the offender from some but not all of the punishment or legal consequences of a crime.” “When granted it is the determination of the ultimate authority that the public welfare will be better served by inflicting less than what the judgment fixed.” “The only limitation to its exercise is that pardon [sic] shall not be granted before conviction.”
A petitioner may request a “simple pardon” which is a “statement of official forgiveness.” While it does not remove a conviction from the official record, it can help the petitioner, especially with employment. A petitioner may not apply until free of all conditions (prison time, probation, etc.) for five years. Over a recent five year period governors in Virginia granted 149 simple pardons in Virginia.
Partial and medical pardons are rare and available to reduce the sentence of incarcerated offenders upon certain conditions. Over a recent five year period governors in Virginia granted seventeen partial pardons and eighteen medical pardons. An absolute pardon is extremely rare because it eliminates all aspects of a conviction. Over a recent five year period governors in Virginia granted four absolute pardons.