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The suspension of the execution of the death penalty for a period of time.

Reprieve is generally an act of clemency that is extended to a prisoner in order to give him or her an opportunity to find a means or reason for reducing the sentence imposed.

The term reprieve is also used generally in reference to the withdrawal of any sentence for a period of time.


n. a temporary delay in imposition of the death penalty (a punishment which cannot be reduced afterwards) by the executive order of the Governor of the state. Reasons for reprieves include the possibility of newly-discovered evidence (another's involvement, evidence of mental impairment), awaiting the result of some last-minute appeal, or concern of the Governor that there may have been some error in the record which he/she should examine. On occasion a reprieve has saved a man found to be innocent. Upon the expiration of the reprieve the date for execution can be reset and the death penalty imposed. A reprieve is only a delay and is not a reduction of sentence, commutation of sentence, or pardon.


noun day of grace, deferment, delay, delay in execution, delay in punishment, dispensation, interval of ease, moratorium, pause, postponement, postponement of penalty, quittance, respite, respite from impending punishhent, stay, stay of execution, stop, suspension of execuuion, suspension of punishment, temporary escape, tempooary relief, temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence, withdrawal of a sentence
Associated concepts: executive reprieve, judicial reprieve, pardon
See also: abeyance, absolution, absolve, acquit, acquittal, amnesty, clear, clemency, compurgation, condonation, condone, discharge, emancipation, excuse, exoneration, forgive, grace, grace period, halt, immunity, impunity, liberation, palliate, pardon, parole, postpone, release, relief, remission, remit, stay, vindicate


1 to postpone or remit the punishment of a person, especially one condemned to death.
2 the postponement or remission itself

REPRIEVE, crim. law practice. This term is derived from reprendre, to take back, and signifies the withdrawing of a sentence for an interval of time, and operates in delay of execution. 4 Bl. Com. 394. It is granted by the favor of the pardoning power, or by the court who tried the prisoner.
     3. Reprieves are sometimes granted ex necessitate legis; for example, when a woman is convicted of a capital offence, after judgment she may allege pregnancy in delay of execution. In order, however, to render this plea available she must be quick with child, (q.v.) the law presuming, perhaps absurdly enough, that before that period, life does not commence in the foetus. 3 Inst. 17; 2 Hale, 413; 1 Hale, 368; 4 Bl. Com. 395.
     4. The judge is also bound to grant a reprieve when the prisoner becomes insane. 4 Harg. St. Tr. 205, 6; 3 Inst. 4; Hawk B. 1, c. 1, s. 4; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 757.

References in periodicals archive ?
The latest information that we got from our Indonesian colleagues is that the Attorney General has reiterated that Mary Jane's reprieve is but temporary and they are still waiting for developments on the legal case here in the Philippines,' Hernando said.
Reprieve also reported juveniles on death row were subject to severe mistreatment including being beaten and isolated in solitary confinement.
June 29 marked the second month since the Indonesian government granted Mary Jane a temporary reprieve and it has been the longest two months for her family and supporters from all around the globe.
The FA reshuffle has also led to a reprieve from relegation to the North West Counties League of Brighouse Town's NPL First Division North rivals New Mills.
The epic performances of the players in those last 12 games, led by new manager Sean Hessey , have been rewarded by this expected reprieve received today from the Football Association.
The head of Iran's central bank has said that the bank was not expecting a reprieve from sanctions.
The administration has not said which documents it will accept, but advocates are taking guidance from a 2012 reprieve for immigrants who came to the country as young children.
But now, the residents who say the space is a vital lifeline to those who use it, have been given a 12-month reprieve.
The panel voted 7-0 against granting Panetti a 180-day reprieve, or recommending that Perry commute the 56-year-old's death sentence to life, board spokesman Raymond Estrada said.
HRW reports that over the summer, just weeks after Reprieve held a Town Hall Meeting in Sana'a for victims to testify to members of the National Dialogue, at least some family members of another wrongful strike in Yemen received token condolence payments for the loss of their loved ones.
This is a reprieve for Sasan Power Ltd ( SPL), promoted by Anil Ambani- owned Reliance Power, which runs the plant.
Sydney, Aug 7 ( ANI ): A rare incident during a Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 match in St Lucia, where Ricky Pointing was given a reprieve following a run out, has given the spirit of cricket a new lease of life.