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Clemency Continued; The Role Of The Reprieve

Clemency Continued; The Role Of The Reprieve

Human law is subject to the flaws of human reason, and practitioners of law, no matter how experienced, make mistakes. When a hasty trial or a questionable verdict is passed, it is sometimes possible for a defendant to appeal for clemency in the form of a reprieve. Particularly popularized for postponing the dates of death penalties, reprieves have several functions in the legal system. Read on to discover the role of the reprieve with Catanzaro Law!


The Oxford American Dictionary defines a reprieve as the “cancellation or postponement of a punishment.” Legally, the concept hinges primarily on postponement rather than outright cancellation, though reprieves have led to cases being thrown out on more than one occasion. A reprieve is used to delay sentencing, allowing alternatives or diminished punishments to be explored.

Reprieves And The Death Penalty

In cases of capital punishment, reprieves can be pivotal. When a defendant is sentenced to death, the implementation of a reprieve grants the defendant’s legal team more time to try and overturn the conviction. If new discoveries are made during a reprieve, such as the admission of exonerating evidence, the sentenced party could be given a reduction in sentence, or even be declared not guilty!

Who Can Grant A Reprieve?

The capability to grant a reprieve depends on the nature of the crime. If the defendant’s crime is at the federal level, only the President is capable of granting a reprieve. This unique presidential power falls under the category of the executive clemency powers of the president. Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution clearly states that the president “shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”  

Also, state governors are capable of granting reprieves to defendants convicted of breaking laws within their state and facing prison time. It’s far more common for reprieves to be given at the state level by state governors than at the federal level by the president.

Get A Closer Look At The Role Of The Reprieve Today!

If you or a loved one has been sentenced hastily or has been unable to find suitable representation, it may be possible to seek a reprieve and use the postponement to seek alternatives. Mark Catanzaro has experience with matters of clemency and will fight on your behalf for the justice you deserve!


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