Johnson County District Judge James Phelan agreed to release Coleman from the Johnson County jail on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
by Dan Margolies, KCUR and Kansas News Service
Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman entered a plea of not guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Johnson County District Court on Monday.
The first-term Democrat was accused in a criminal complaint of a single count of causing bodily harm to, or having physical contact with, a family member. Although not identified in the complaint, it appears the family member was his brother.
Coleman did not appear at his arraignment, which was conducted via Zoom. His attorney, David Bell, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf. At Bell’s request, Johnson County District Judge James Phelan agreed to release Coleman from the Johnson County jail on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
Phelan also ordered Coleman to appear for a Dec. 22 hearing on the court’s diversion docket. The docket is intended to give offenders who commit a relatively minor offense a second chance. Phelan also ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Coleman, 21, was arrested Saturday night and booked into the Johnson County jail in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Both Coleman’s brother and grandfather, who were present via Zoom at Monday’s arraignment, told Phelan that they were not afraid of Coleman and were fine having contact with him after his release from jail. Phelan, however, ordered Coleman not to have contact with his brother or grandfather for the first 72 hours after his release.
The incident for which Coleman was arrested took place at his grandfather’s house. No details about what happened emerged at the arraignment, but the criminal complaint signed by Assistant District Attorney Andrew J. Jennings lists as witnesses “Shawnee Mission medical personnel,” suggesting that the incident required medical intervention.
Coleman has a history of misconduct and making alleged threats against women. Soon after he won an upset primary victory in 2020 against Rep. Stan Frownfelter and went on to win the general election for House District 37, which includes parts of Kansas City, Kansas, he faced calls for his ouster. A legislative probe earlier this year resulted in an informal letter of warning.
Last month, the Kansas Department of Labor warned him to stay away from the agency’s headquarters after it said he tried to get into parts of the building restricted to agency employees.
Coleman once threatened to shoot a high school student and has admitted to online bullying and leaking revenge porn when he was a middle-school student. An ex-girlfriend has accused him of slapping and choking her, and he was the subject of a temporary no-contact order issued by a Wyandotte County judge last year after Frownfelter’s campaign manager accused him of harassment. The order was dismissed after Coleman and the campaign manager came to an agreement.
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