Reprieve is the suspension or postponement of the punishment of a convicted person[i]. When a reprieve is granted, a criminal is temporarily relieved from the execution of his/her sentence.
Certain state statutes give the Governor power to grant reprieves, commutations of sentence, and pardons after conviction[ii]. A reprieve is usually granted in the case of an execution of death sentence. However, it may be granted in other punishments also.
A reprieve may be granted in different ways according to the circumstances in each case. Under common law, it may be granted by the crown or the executive authority on its own will. A court which awarded the execution may grant a reprieve on the basis of the authority it is vested with. It may also be required under a statute to grant reprieve under certain circumstances. For example, a woman who is pregnant may be granted a postponement of her execution. The execution of an insane person also may be suspended until s/he recovers to sanity.
The punishment or sentencing granted on a conviction will exist without any change on reprieve. It is only a temporary postponement of execution of a sentence for a particular period. However, the sentence will be executed later.
[i] People ex rel. Madigan v. Snyder, 208 Ill. 2d 457 (Ill. 2004).
[ii] Wilkinson v. Maurer, 1993 Ohio App. LEXIS 2045 (Ohio Ct. App., Franklin County Apr. 8, 1993).