Criminal case processing and sentencing are affected not only by legal factors and defendant characteristics but also by courts' organizational and political contexts. This article examines the influence of these latter factors in the context of a rural trial court. The analysis traces the lines of influence between the state's legal context, the county's political context, the judges' relations with other court community sponsoring agencies, their interaction strategies within courtroom workgroups, and the consequences for defendants' sentences. The article concludes by outlining an agenda for further comparative research and by discussing the potential contributions of such research to the courts/sentencing literature and to interactionist-oriented theories of social organization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies