Reprieve, in law, temporary suspension of execution of the sentence of a criminal. The term usually refers to sentences of death. A reprieve is granted in most instances by the chief executive of a state or country. When the court that tried the prisoner grants a reprieve, it is often called a stay of execution. The most common reason for granting a reprieve is to allow time for a review of a case when new evidence is uncovered. A reprieve differs from a commutation, which is a reduction of sentence, and from a pardon, which is a permanent cancellation of sentence.
The United States is renowned for having one of the most sophisticated judicial systems in the world. Every day thousands of people take part in this system, hoping to settle disputes and work for justice. Learn how the U.S. judicial system works.
The police knock on your door, and a knot forms in your stomach when you're told the reason for the handcuffs: You're being arrested for a crime you haven't committed -- yet.