State of Tennessee v. Stephen Lynn Hugueley

State of Tennessee v. Stephen Lynn Hugueley

Defendant, Stephen Lynn Hugueley, was convicted by a jury of one count of first degree premeditated murder. During the penalty phase of the trial, the jury found four aggravating circumstances: (1) Defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies whose statutory elements involved the use of violence to the person; (2) the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death; (3) Defendant committed the murder while he was in a place of lawful confinement; and (4) the victim was a corrections employee. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-204(i)(2), (5), (8), (9) (Supp. 1999). Additionally, the jury determined that the evidence of these aggravating circumstances outweighed the evidence of mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. at (g)(1). The jury thereupon sentenced Defendant to death. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and the death sentence.

After the case was docketed in this Court, we entered an order identifying several issues for oral argument.1 We now hold as follows: (1) the 1 trial court did not commit reversible error in concluding that Defendant failed to establish purposeful discrimination by the prosecution in its exercise of peremptory challenges in violation of Batson v. Kentucky and J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B.; (2) the trial court did not commit reversible error in refusing to dismiss prospective juror Watkins for cause; and (3) the death sentence is valid under this Court’s mandatory review pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1) (2003). We agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals’ conclusions with respect to the remaining issues, the relevant portions of which are included in the appendix to this opinion. Accordingly, the Court of Criminal Appeals’ judgment is affirmed.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Cornelia A. Clark
Originating Judge: 
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood
Date Filed: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2006