Stephen Lynn Hugueley v. State of Tennessee
Following affirmance on direct appeal of his murder conviction and accompanying sentence of death, State v. Hugueley, 185 S.W.3d 356 (Tenn. 2006), the Petitioner, Stephen Lynn Hugueley, filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court appointed the Office of the Post-Conviction Defender to represent the Petitioner. The Petitioner thereafter wrote the post-conviction court expressing his desire to withdraw his petition for post-conviction relief. A competency hearing was held in November 2008. On January 8, 2009, the post-conviction court found the Petitioner competent and entered an order dismissing the petition for post-conviction relief. A notice of appeal was filed on February 19, 2009. The Petitioner filed a motion to remand the matter to the post-conviction court. The motion was predicated upon the Petitioner’s desire to proceed with any and all available challenges to his conviction and sentence. This court entered an order concluding that the motion to remand shall be heard contemporaneously with arguments on the merits of the Petitioner’s Rule 3 appeal. On appeal to this court, the Petitioner presents a number of claims related to the lower court’s determination that he was competent to withdraw his petition for post-conviction relief, including the lower court’s denial of independent experts, medically appropriate experts, and sufficient time to prepare. Following a thorough and exhaustive review of the record and the applicable law, this court declines to expand the precedent established in Pike v. State and concludes that the Petitioner may not belatedly withdraw his decision to dismiss his petition for post-conviction relief. Additionally, this court concludes that the post-conviction court did not err in concluding that the Petitioner was competent to withdraw his motion. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.