reprieve

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Reprieve

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.

reprieve

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.

reprieve

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

reprieve

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 classic literature ?
And whom will you employ to carry the reprieve to the officer directing the execution?
Thus run the official words of the reprieve addressed to the hearts ashore lying under a heavy sentence.
Perceiving that no respite, nor reprieve, nor subterfuge was possible, he bravely decided upon his course of action; he wound his right foot round his left leg, raised himself on his left foot, and stretched out his arm: but at the moment when his hand touched the manikin, his body, which was now supported upon one leg only, wavered on the stool which had but three; he made an involuntary effort to support himself by the manikin, lost his balance, and fell heavily to the ground, deafened by the fatal vibration of the thousand bells of the manikin, which, yielding to the impulse imparted by his hand, described first a rotary motion, and then swayed majestically between the two posts.
Jane would have begged for a further reprieve, had it not been that she too had begun to believe that her forest lover would return no more.
Sometimes I have imagined that a reprieve has been granted.
She had made a bad bargain, but she intended carrying her part loyally to the bitter end--if she could manage to secure a temporary reprieve, though, she felt that she was warranted in doing so.
This reprieve suggested to the worthy spectators remarks such as the following: --
But I knew the reprieve would be but for a short time, and though I had no wish to die, I must confess that I rather wished the ordeal over and the peace of oblivion upon me.
Knowing his astronomy, he thus gained a reprieve of nearly nine months; and he was confident that within that time he would either be dead or escaped to the coast with full knowledge of the Red One and of the source of the Red One's wonderful voice.
Yes, poor Arthur, I will still hope and pray for you; and though I write as if you were some abandoned wretch, past hope and past reprieve, it is only my anxious fears, my strong desires that make me do so; one who loved you less would be less bitter, less dissatisfied.
Death, that inexorable judge, had passed sentence on him, and refused to grant him a reprieve, though two doctors who arrived, and were fee'd at one and the same instant, were his counsel.
Whether you marry me or not, you're a good little girl, Becky, and I'm your vriend, mind," said Sir Pitt, and putting on his crape- bound hat, he walked away--greatly to Rebecca's relief; for it was evident that her secret was unrevealed to Miss Crawley, and she had the advantage of a brief reprieve.