Michael Gardner Conviction Reversed by Virginia Supreme Court

photo 1It was learned this morning that the Virginia Supreme Court, by a 6-1 margin, reversed the conviction of Falls Church resident Michael Gardner on charges of child molestation.

Gardner, former chair of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee and husband of former Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner, was convicted of molesting two girls at a birthday party at his house in 2011 and sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2012.

According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court said the trial judge improperly barred two character witnesses from testifying about whether Gardner had a reputation as a good caretaker of children. Their testimony was limited to Gardner’s general reputation for honesty and peacefulness.

A statement from the Gardner family, issued by Gardner’s legal team, reads as follows:

“We have always known that Michael’s trial had many errors. We are very pleased that the Supreme Court of Virginia came to the same conclusion. This has been a very difficult three years and we look forward to seeing Michael out of prison and in our home. We want to thank all of our family and friends who have stood by us during this ordeal and look forward to their ongoing support as we continue this battle.”

More details will be forthcoming.