Pardons are very rare in Virginia. Attorney Sheldon is the only attorney in Virginia to have collected and analyzed through research and freedom of information act requests the pardon data for the last 12 years in Virginia. In the last 12 years (2008-2019) there have been 420 simple pardons granted and only 85 pardons shortening the length of the sentence served, or about 7 a year. In the last several years Attorney Sheldon has secured simple, conditional and commutation pardons for clients.
A pardon is an extraordinary remedy because it can be issued at anytime and for any reason. The President grants pardons for federal crimes, a Governor grants pardons for state crimes. There are three types of pardons in Virginia, Simple, Conditional and Absolute. A simple pardon is a statement of grace, or forgiveness, by the Governor. It has no legal effecW and one¶V record iV XnaffecWed e[cepW WhaW iW iV likel\ Wo haYe Whe Zord ³pardon´ on iW. A simple pardon is often pursued to make finding employment easier.
A conditional pardon, sometimes called a partial or medical pardon, is a pardon issued to shorten the length of a sentence. The conviction remains in place. An absolute pardon eliminates both the sentence and the conviction and wipes the record clean. A commutation eliminates a death sentence in a capital case.