Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Tennessee at Jackson.
No. 1:09-cv-01181—J. Daniel Breen, District Judge.
Decided and Filed: July 1, 2020
Before: BOGGS, GRIFFIN, and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges.
BOGGS, Circuit Judge. Stephen Lynn Hugueley, a death-row inmate at Tennessee’s
Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, appeals the denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas
petition, which alleged various violations of his constitutional rights. We granted a certificate of
appealability on only one issue, whether Hugueley’s counsel at trial was ineffective. In the
proceedings below, the federal habeas court concluded that this claim had been procedurally
defaulted. Hugueley originally raised the claim in his state post-conviction proceedings, but he
waived the claim when he decided to voluntarily withdraw his petition. Hugueley now argues
that he should have been declared incompetent to withdraw his post-conviction petition, and that
the state-court procedures that determined that he was competent were procedurally deficient
under Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930 (2007). He therefore contends that the court’s ruling
of procedural default was incorrect. In the alternative, he argues that his default should be
excused under Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012), because his state post-conviction counsel
was ineffective, and her deficient performance caused his default.
For the following reasons, we reject Hugueley’s arguments and affirm the district court’s
denial of his habeas petition.