United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court on Petitioner's Objection (DN
28, 29) to the Magistrate Judge's Findings of Fact,
Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation (“R. &
R.”) (DN 27). For the following reasons, the R. &
R. is ADOPTED and Petitioner's Objection
is OVERRULED. Petitioner's Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus (DN 1, 16) is
facts and procedural history in this matter are not in
dispute. (See R. & R. 1-6, DN 27). Petitioner
was indicted for the brutal 2006 kidnapping and murder of his
girlfriend. Stinnett v. Commonwealth, 364 S.W.3d 70,
75 (Ky. 2011). At trial, Petitioner represented himself with
the assistance of two attorneys from the Department of Public
Advocacy serving as stand-by, or hybrid, counsel.
Id. He was convicted and sentenced to a term of life
without parole. Id. The Kentucky Supreme Court
affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. Id. at 74.
After he sought relief under Ky. R. Crim. P. 11.42, the
Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the Warren Circuit
Court's decision. Stinnett v. Commonwealth, No.
2015-CA-000157-MR, 2016 WL 4490586, at *1-9 (Ky. App. Aug.
26, 2017). The Kentucky Supreme Court denied Petitioner's
motion for discretionary review. (DN 18-2).
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner sets forth
two claims: (1) that his Sixth Amendment right to
self-representation was violated by his appointed standby
counsel, for which the Kentucky Court of Appeals improperly
failed to grant relief upon based on an unreasonable
application of McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168
(1984); and (2) to the extent that standby counsel were
operating within their proper duties as counsel, he received
ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment
and the Kentucky Court of Appeals' holding was a contrary
to and an unreasonable application of Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
Court has jurisdiction to “entertain an application for
a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court” pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Pub. L. No.
104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996) (“AEDPA”), applies
to all habeas corpus petitions filed after April 24, 1996,
and requires “heightened respect” for legal and
factual determinations made by state courts. See
Herbert v. Billy, 160 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir.
1998). Section 2254(d), as amended by AEDPA, provides:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim-
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
a “difficult to meet and highly deferential standard .
. . .” Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181
(2011) (internal quotation marks omitted) (internal citation
omitted) (citation omitted). Legal conclusions made by state
courts are also given substantial deference under AEDPA. The
Supreme Court has concluded that “a federal habeas
court may overturn a state court's application of federal
law only if it is so erroneous that there is no possibility
fairminded jurists could disagree that the state court's
decision conflicts with this Court's ...