Master's Theses


Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


In this study plea bargaining was defined as the pre-trial negotiation between defense and prosecuting attorneys to reach a guilty plea in exchange for charge or sentencing concessions by the prosecutor. A questionnaire was sent to the 105 Kansas county attorneys inquiring into the nature and extent of their plea bargaining activity. Seventy-seven questionnaires were returned and were analyzed by county size and experience of the prosecutors. Results were compared to other empirical studies and to the Standards Relating to Pleas of Guilty adopted by the American Bar Association. Eighty percent of all pleas are guilty pleas and forty percent of those pleas are bargained pleas. The percentage of bargained pleas is slightly higher in the more populous counties. About 75% of the Kansas county attorneys philosophically approve of plea bargaining. About one-half said plea bargaining was a general practice of their office and that they could not operate with the current staff and operating budget without it. Defendants entering pleas of guilty receive lesser sentences than defendants that go to trial and are convicted of the same offense, a practice stated by 62% of the prosecutors to be improper. The American Bar Association standards are basically observed in Kansas, and have been, in general, adopted in Kansas in State v. Byrd, 203 Kan. 45. 453 P.2d 22 (1969), although the data shows that there is some judicial involvement in plea discussions and a hint of overcharging by prosecutors. Over 25% of the offices surveyed have guidelines for plea bargaining.


Donald B. Slechta

Date of Award

Summer 1977

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1977 Dick Ernest Sherbondy


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