Judge finds no probable cause in Suellentrop arrest


A Shawnee County judge on Tuesday morning released Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, saying there wasn’t probable cause to support his arrest on charges of drunk driving and fleeing a police officer.

District Judge Penny Moylan ordered Suellentrop’s release after a short video hearing in which Suellentrop appeared wearing a yellow jump suit.

“I have reviewed the law enforcement officer’s report and at this time I do not find probable cause to support your arrest and detention based on failure to include some pertinent information within that law enforcement officer’s report,” the judge said.

Moylan didn’t explain what information was left out of the report, which was not imade available on Tuesday.

Suellentrop was not in the chamber on Tuesday and was the only lawmaker not to cast a vote for the state emergency management bill.

Meanwhile, Senate President Ty Masterson and Vice President Rick Wilborn issued a joint statement late Tuesday.

“This morning, we all learned that Sen. Suellentrop had been arrested and subsequently released without charges,” they saud.

“The underlying incident is certainly serious and very unfortunate. We will continue to
pray for Gene and his family as we gather more information.

“The Senate continues to do our work on behalf of the people of Kansas.”

Moylan’s decision came hours after Suellentrop had been booked in the Shawnee County Jail on suspicion of drunk driving just before 4 a.m. Tuesday.

He also had been charged with fleeing a law enforcement officer, speeding and improper crossover on a divided highway, records show.

The Capitol Police made the arrest on Interstate 70 near downtown Topeka. His vehicle was reported to be headed eastbound in the westbound lanes.

The officer attempted to stop Suellentrop’s white sport utility vehicle, but it reportedly continued on.  A short pursuit followed. The vehicle came to a stop when Suellentrop was arrested.

Details about the results of a field-sobriety test and the length of the pursuit were not immediately available Tuesday morning.

A Highway Patrol spokeswoman referred all questions about the judge’s ruling to the Shawnee County district attorney.

Moylan was appointed to the district court bench in 2019 by Gov. Laura Kelly to replace Franklin Theis.

Moylan previously worked as a deputy disciplinary administrator for the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s Office, where she investigated and prosecuted ethical complaints against Kansas-licensed attorneys.

Her previous experience included time as a senior research attorney with the Kansas Supreme Court.