What are your thoughts on Capital Punishment?

death penalty

Hi everyone! I know I haven’t posted in a while. My apologies. I really have missed blogging. Lately, it seems that all of my energy has been consumed between mommy duties and practicing law. I will share some of my mommy duty stories with you later. I promise! But today, I woke up wanting to know what you all thought about the death penalty.

I am fortunate to sit on the Board of Directors for The Center for Death Penalty Litigation in North Carolina. This non-profit law firm has a team that plays many roles in the fight against the death penalty in North Carolina. They not only zealously represent people on death row in North Carolina but also consult with and train attorneys throughout the state representing individuals facing the death penalty.

In addition, I am fortunate enough to be on the capital roster in North Carolina. This allows me to be appointed to represent indigent people charged with first-degree murder and possibly facing the death penalty. While this work is extremely hard and demanding, it is very rewarding to me as a criminal defense attorney. I have attended continuing legal education courses over the past couple of months centered around defending people facing the death penalty in North Carolina. These seminars are great for me because they allow me to spend time with attorneys around the state who do similar work. They also allow me to become reinvigorated so that I can continue to zealously advocate on behalf of the “underdog”.

Ghandi Quote

I have also come across some documentaries that have caused me to spend quite a bit of time thinking about the death penalty and the purpose it truly serves.  Thus, my reason for wanting to reach out to you all and see what your thoughts and feelings are on the death penalty.

Of course, since I am asking you to share your position, I feel obligated to share mine. I do not believe in the death penalty! And, before you give me the scenario that everyone always gives me when I tell them my views: someone brutally murdering one of my beautiful daughters. STOP! I have already considered that. There is nothing about sitting in a room, watching the state murder a person who has murdered my loved one, that would make me feel restored or whole again. It just wouldn’t.

Now, while I have my views on the death penalty, please know that I have the ability to respect the views of others. In addition to being firmly against the death penalty, I am firmly for respectful, lively discussion and debate on issues we face as a society. So, instead of going on and on about my views, I am going to stop and ask you to share your views. Are you for or against the death penalty? Why or Why not?

I look forward to hearing from you all!

Much Love,


Published by Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

10 thoughts on “What are your thoughts on Capital Punishment?

  1. Wish I could give you a strait answer. But here goes, as a military man I did believe in the death penalty. Between how we were trained and what I saw in a war zone I definitely did believe. But then when I retired I started working with mentally challenged adults and my view changed and I had a new perspective on the subject. But then again, my role changed and I became a corrections officer and lost coworkers to inmates that had nothing to loose by killing them. Is it all black and white? No but sometimes it’s hard when one day your head leads you and the next, your heart controls you. As I stated at the beginning, it’s difficult to give a strait answer. I truly believe it’s a case by case answer.

  2. I believe in the death penalty. Our prisons are full of incarcerated individuals convicted of murder costing millions of dollars to the tax payer. These same incarcerated individuals are management problems. Many are responsible for injuries to staff and other inmates and recently death of staff.

  3. I am strongly opposed to the death penalty because when and who gets the death penalty is arbitrarily and capriciously decided by District attorneys across the state and country who disproportionately choose to go after minorities and people from lower income neighborhoods that cannot afford a top tier defense. DNA has exonerated so many people on death row that had sat on death row for 10-15 yrs before finding out they were innocent. How many innocent people have been executed. One is too many. But it has happened. And will continue to happen as long as we have the death penalty

  4. I would say I am against the death penalty. Only because if I had a friend or family member that was killed by someone. I would want that individual to rot in prison and think of what they did every day, living like a caged animal. Killing them is honestly making it easy for them, because its not like they are suffering in any way, it’s quite instant, so what is the point?? just my take on the subject

  5. My thoughts have evolved. I do believe that some crimes are so heinous and callous that the people who commit them should forfeit their right to live. However, because of the inequities and disparities in sentencing and because of the possibility that innocent people can be put to death we should not implement death penalty.

  6. I love your posts. So allow me to rant…Does the punishment fit the crime? Is proof beyond a reasonable doubt applicable? Evidence? How long do the appeals take? Is it humane? Why put someone to death when there is an industry built around keeping someone incarcerated? I do not understand the legal dynamics of the situation but do know that there is a great deal of fallacy involved. There are countries that have very low crime rates and don’t depend on a gargantuan prison industry. Doesn’t it make you wonder what they are doing correctly?

  7. Chiming in from CDPL in Durham, where we are very fortunate to have dedicated, talented attorneys like Tonza on our Board of Directors. Having spent more than 20 years representing clients facing the death penalty, I am very much opposed to capital punishment for many of the reasons mentioned by others — the risk of executing innocent people, race and class bias in the imposition of the death penalty, arbitrariness, the cruelty of executing people with mental illness, the high cost compared to life imprisonment. In my work, I’ve also talked to people who lost loved ones to murder, and my heart aches for them.

    In face of horrible crime, we often ask, how could someone do this? I think the answer is: allow children to grow up in poverty, incarcerate their fathers, deprive mothers of mental health care and help with drug addiction, confine communities in dangerous and violent neighborhoods, send children to impoverished and overcrowded schools, permit racial disparities in school suspensions and juvenile arrests to limit opportunities.

    As a society, we don’t face these failures, this profound absence of justice, but pat ourselves on the back when we impose a death sentence because now we’ve identified the true evil and we’re really going to teach that person a lesson and give “justice” to victims and their families and communities when what we’re really trying to do is assuage our own collective conscience. As Bryan Stevenson, a renowned capital defense attorney says, the question isn’t do some people have forfeited the right to live, it’s whether we have a right to kill. My answer is no.

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