Criminal Justice Argumentative Topics

By Victoria McGrath
Is white collar crime better or worse than petty theft?

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Popular criminal justice argument topics include capitol punishment, cruel and unusual punishment, unlawful search and seizures, rights against self incrimination and Constitutional protections. Defense attorneys often raise Constitutional violations to protect their criminal defendant's rights. Prosecuting attorneys argue on behalf of the victim's rights in the criminal justice system. Fourth and Eighth Amendment issues typically make compelling arguments.

First Amendment Topics on Freedom of Religion

Criminal defendants raise First Amendment rights violations when religion requires participation in illegal activities. The criminal acts are often violations of statutory law such as smoking peyote during a religious ceremony, but not generally malicious violations of law such as human sacrifice. Defense arguments insist that criminal prohibitions on mandatory religious activities violate the Constitution and the defendant's First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Prosecution arguments support enforcement of criminal penalties for all criminal violations regardless of how they interfere with religious practices. You can present either side of the argument in favor or against criminal penalties for criminal violations in the course of fundamental religious practices.

Fourth Amendment Topics on Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. A suspect detained for custodial interrogation must be read his Miranda rights. The defense argues that anytime an individual is in police custody he should be entitled to Miranda rights. The prosecution argues that the mere failure to read Miranda rights should not allow guilty suspects to walk free. You can argue in favor or against Miranda rights. A speech can address why all evidence should be suppressed if the police officer fails to read the suspect his Miranda Rights. Additionally, consider warrant requirements. Argue whether a search warrant should be required. This topic considers whether or not all evidence should be thrown out if obtained without a valid warrant.

Fifth Amendment Topics Aganst Self-Incrimination

The Fifth Amendment provides Constitutional protection against self-incrimination. A journalist often pleads the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination with the First Amendment freedom of speech rights. One popular topic considers whether journalists should face criminal punishment including monetary sanctions and imprisonment for refusing to testify about confidential sources or to turn over undisclosed photographs. Another topic questions whether or not Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination apply to all parties equally. Argue why the Fifth Amendment should extend to all individuals called to testify before the grand jury and congressional proceedings. A speech topic can also include a criminal defendant's rights to plead the Fifth even if immunity is granted.

Eight Amendment Topics on Cruel and Unusual Punshment

The Eight Amendment protects all citizens from cruel and unusual punishment. Each world culture interprets cruel and unusual punishment differently. An Eighth Amendment speech on cruel and unusual punishment can include national and international perspectives. State your position in favor or against capital punishment. You can argue in favor of certain types of execution and against other types. Consider a topic on physical mutilation for minor criminal offenses, such as cutting off a child's hand for stealing a loaf of bread because he's hungry. This topic raises moral concerns over unjustified criminal penalties. Eight Amendment speech topics includes life time prison sentences under three strikes rules.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Victoria McGrath has been writing law-related articles since 2004. She specializes in intellectual property, copyright and trademark law. She earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona, College of Law. McGrath pursued both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts at University of California, Los Angeles, in film and television production. Her work has been published in the Daily Bruin and La Gente Newsmagazine.

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