United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S JULY 9, 2018
RECOMMENDATION, AS MODIFIED, AND DENYING § 2255
William L. Martinez United States District Judge.
Court sentenced Defendant Matthew Holt (“Holt”)
to 55 years in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons based on
his plea of guilty to three counts of producing child
pornography. Currently before the Court is Holt's Motion
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. (ECF No. 110.) The
Court referred this motion to U.S. Magistrate Judge Nina Y.
Wang for a recommended disposition. (See ECF Nos.
111, 125.) After resolving requests for discovery and similar
matters,  Judge Wang issued her recommendation on
July 9, 2018, recommending that Holt's motion be denied
in all respects. (“Recommendation, ” ECF No.
145.) Holt filed a timely objection. (ECF No. 148.) The
Government filed a response to that objection. (ECF No. 149.)
Holt then filed a motion to strike the Government's
response (ECF No. 152), which is also currently before the
Court. The Government filed no response to the motion to
reasons explained below, the Court agrees with Judge Wang
that Holt's motion fails in all respects, although the
Court's reasoning is at times somewhat different than
Judge Wang's. Accordingly, the Court will adopt the
Recommendation in full, as modified herein, and deny
Holt's motion. The Court will deny Holt's motion to
strike as moot.
was arrested on May 18, 2015, under a criminal complaint
charging violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a), which
prohibits production of child pornography.(ECF Nos. 1, 7.)
The eventual indictment contained twenty-one counts, thirteen
of which were directed at Holt. (See ECF No. 13.)
Twelve of those thirteen counts charged violations of §
2251(a). The remaining count charged a violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2252A(a)(2), which prohibits distribution of child
through counsel, filed a notice of disposition on September
15, 2015. (ECF No. 38.) He chose to accept a plea agreement
that, in its final form, was an agreement to dismiss the
indictment and to charge Holt through a superseding
information that alleged three counts of violating §
2251(a)-to which he would plead guilty. (See ECF No.
62 at 1-5.) The Government also agreed not to pursue charges
based on any other violations then known to it. (Id.
numerous continuances for reasons no longer important, the
Court held a change-of-plea hearing on February 23, 2016.
(ECF No. 61.) At that hearing, the undersigned addressed Holt
Q. Mr. Holt, do you understand that you are under oath and
that if you answer any of my questions falsely, your answers
may later be used against you in a separate prosecution for
Q. Do you understand you have the right to remain silent and
not to answer any of my questions?
Q. Do you give up your right to remain silent in order to
answer the questions I need to ask you at this hearing?
* * *
Q. Is there anything about the way you feel right now that
prevents you from understanding what is happening at this
(ECF No. 115 at 4-5.) The undersigned then announced,
“Based on the statements of the defendant and my
observations, I find that he is competent to proceed with
this hearing.” (Id. at 5.)
The undersigned then continued his colloquy with Holt:
Q. . . . Now, Mr. Holt, have you read and discussed the
charges to which you will be pleading guilty with your
A. I have.
Q. Do you understand the charges to which you will be
A. I do.
Q. . . . Mr. Holt, have you read Court Exhibits 1 and 2
[i.e., the plea agreement (now filed at ECF No. 62)
and the statement in advance of pleading guilty]?
Q. Have you discussed these documents with your lawyer?
A. Yes, I have.
Q. Has your lawyer answered any questions you may have had
regarding Exhibits 1 and 2?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. And when you signed Exhibits 1 and 2, did you do so
Q. All right. You've told me you've already reviewed
the Plea Agreement, Exhibit 1, and discussed it thoroughly
with your lawyer. So hopefully it won't take too long,
but I am going to need to ask you to review to yourself the
factual stipulations contained in your agreement at pages 11
through 24. And let me know when you are done reviewing those
A. I am done, sir.
Q. The record will reflect the defendant took 15 minutes to
review the facts in the Plea Agreement. Mr. Holt, these are
the facts the government believes it could prove at trial. By
entering into this Plea Agreement, you are admitting these
facts and I will treat them as true for purposes of
considering your plea and for purposes of sentencing.
Do you agree that the facts on pages 11 through 24 of the
Plea Agreement that you have just reviewed are true?
A. I do.
Q. Is there any inaccuracy in these facts that you would like
to correct at this time?
Q. Can you turn to page 6, please, of your Plea Agreement.
One, 2 and 3 are the elements of the offense that you are
pleading guilty to, and this is the statutory legal language
of the offense; and you can refer to that, if you would like
to, but I would like you to state in your own words what it
is that you did with respect to the counts you are pleading
guilty to and what brings you in front of me today.
A. I made pictures and videos depicting sexual images with a
device that crossed state lines with two different minors.
Q. All right. What were the ages of these minors?
A. One was a two-year-old and one was eight.
Q. All right. And [you] persuaded or in some fashion had
these minors engage in sexually explicit conduct?
Q. And you did so for purposes of creating a visual depiction
of them engaging in sexually explicit conduct?
Q. And you knew that these visual depictions were going to be
transmitted to other states and/or other foreign countries-or
A. I did.
(Id. at 6-8.)
undersigned then confirmed Holt's willingness to give up
the constitutional rights he would enjoy by going to trial,
his understanding of the potential maximum sentence, and
similar matters. (Id. at 9-16.) Following Holt's
affirmative responses, th undersigned continued:
Q. Has anyone threatened you or your family in order to force
you to plead guilty in this case?
Q. Are you satisfied with the representation your attorney