State ex rel. Coole v. Sims
In State ex rel. Coole v. Sims, 133 W. Va. 619, 58 S.E.2d 784 (1950), the Court concluded that a gubernatorial pardon was not "a sound basis for a legislative finding of a moral obligation on the part of the State to compensate a person who had been convicted of a crime for damages for injuries to his or her person or reputation, on the ground of his or her innocence." Syl. pt. 2, in part.
In reaching this conclusion, the Court commented:
What is a pardon? In 39 Am. Jur. 523, it is stated: "A definition which has been designated by the courts as probably the most accurate and comprehensive, and as best expressing the legal signification of the word, is that a pardon is a declaration on record by the chief magistrate of a state or country that a person named is relieved from the legal consequences of a specific crime. Another definition commonly given is that a pardon is an act of grace proceeding from the power intrusted with the execution of laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. . . ."
(133 W. Va. at 628-29, 58 S.E.2d at 790.)