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.