Shawnee attorney sentenced for smuggling heroin to inmate she was in relationship with

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Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Shawnee, Kansas, attorney who was working for the state public defender’s office has been sentenced for smuggling heroin to a Missouri inmate she was in a relationship with while he was serving a sentence for murder.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 44-year-old Juliane L. Colby has been sentenced to one year and one month in federal prison without parole. In February, she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

According to court documents, Colby began a romantic relationship with the inmate while she was working as an attorney on his defense team in 2017. At that time, he had been charged with first-degree murder and was in the Jackson County Detention Center.

While the murder case was pending, he was found with a cellphone that had been smuggled into the jail. He and Colby had been using it to communicate. Colby faced criminal charges for acting in concert in possession of a cell phone in a correctional facility. However, she entered a diversion agreement that was completed in May of 2019 and the charges were dismissed.

In August of 2019, Colby regularly visited the inmate at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri, where he was serving his sentence after being convicted of murder.

In a series of phone conversations, Colby and the inmate used code words to discuss the plan to mail heroin and contraband into the correctional center. During those calls, they also talked about previous successful deliveries of heroin. The correctional center both monitored and recorded the calls.

According to the DOJ, Colby hid the heroin in an envelop marked as “legal mail.” It also contained photos of her and numerous documents from an inactive criminal court case. It was labeled with a fake return address for a law firm. Also, it was addressed to another inmate who was housed in the same unit as the inmate she was in a relationship with.

There were eight small bags taped behind the flap of the envelope, which contained a total of 3.25 grams of black tar heroin.

Ultimately, Colby admitted that she that conspired with others to smuggle heroin to an inmate at the correctional center from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10, 2019.