United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RECONSIDER
William J. Martinez United States District Judge
William J. Sears (“Sears”) pleaded guilty in
November 2016 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the
United States (18 U.S.C. § 371) and one count of filing
a false income tax return (26 U.S.C. § 7206(1)). (ECF
Nos. 41, 48, 84.) His sentencing has been postponed pending
his opportunity to testify in the Government’s case
against Guy Jean-Pierre, a co-conspirator who, for procedural
reasons not relevant here, was charged in a separate criminal
action. (See Criminal Case No. 17-cr-008-WJM.)
Jean-Pierre went to trial before the undersigned in January
2019, and Sears testified at the trial, as expected. The
Court then set Sears’s sentencing hearing for July 11,
2019, which has since been continued to October 31, 2019.
4, 2019, Sears filed a Motion to Withdraw Plea of Guilty.
(ECF No. 139.) The Court denied that motion on May 22, 2019.
(ECF No. 150.) On August 1, 2019, Sears filed a Motion for
Reconsideration (ECF No. 173), which is currently before the
Court. The Court’s analysis below presumes familiarity
with its May 22, 2019 order.
[a] motion to reconsider may be granted when the court has
misapprehended the facts, a party’s position, or the
law. Specific grounds include: (1) an intervening change in
the controlling law, (2) new evidence previously unavailable,
and (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest
injustice. A motion to reconsider should not be used to
revisit issues already addressed or advance arguments that
could have been raised earlier.
United States v. Christy, 739 F.3d 534, 539 (10th
Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
first argues that the Court has misapprehended the law,
“imposing a burden on [him] to not just raise arguments
in favor of innocence, but to convince the Court of his
innocence.” (ECF No. 173 ¶ 5.) The Court imposed
no such burden. Sears’s motion seemed to presume that
he could simply claim innocence and that would be enough. The
Court thus found that Sears had not justified his motion
because, among other reasons, he had offered only “bare
assertions of innocence with no support, and no explanation
of why [he had] gone back on [his] sworn testimony [at the
change-of-plea hearing].” (ECF No. 150 at 8.)
next attacks the Court’s reliance on his change-of-plea
Of the multi-pages of alleged activities recited in the plea
agreement, the only one that Mr. Sears acknowledged, in the
colloquy, was his involvement in the creation of a
convertible promissory note that was backdated.
. . . Sears never agreed he was guilty of the entire crime as
presented by the government in the plea agreement.
[B]ackdating of the convertible notes was not an illegal act
The colloquy with Mr. Sears during the change of plea hearing
reveals that he admitted only to a very narrow slice of the
facts the government alleged against him.
(ECF No. 173 ¶¶ 7, 9, 11–12.) To the
contrary, Sears acknowledged that he had read all of the
facts alleged in the plea agreement and that there was no
inaccuracy. (See ECF No. 150 at 3–4.) In
addition, there is no requirement that the Court obtain the
defendant’s verbal description of his or her
incriminating actions, and therefore no requirement that the
Court’s colloquy or the defendant’s resulting
narrative embrace every criminal act alleged by the
third argument for reconsideration is that the Court
misapprehended his assertion of innocence:
[H]e is arguing that he did not have the mens rea to
agree to violate the law and to engage in an overt act
furthering the objective of the conspiracy. This is because
he has claimed throughout, as noted by the footnotes in the
plea agreement, that he was acting with advice of counsel and