Research attempting to explain potential disparities in plea bargaining decisions has often lacked theoretical considerations. This paper develops an integrated theory to better explain the relationship of irrelevant, non-legal factors and plea-bargaining decisions. The paper integrates three theoretical perspectives: consensus/concessions theory (Nardulli, et al., 1988), liberation hypothesis (Kalven and Zeisel, 1966), and focal concerns theory (Steffensmeier, et al., 1998). Research on the disparities in plea bargaining necessitates theoretical explanation. This integrated theory will provide a theoretical basis for future research to explain the rationales of disparate treatment of offenders by prosecutors in their plea bargaining practices.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeremy_ball/11/