LeReed Shelton was charged with misdemeanor assault. Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies. At his trial, he asked for a lawyer but was denied. He represented himself at the trial and was convicted. However, he didn’t have to go to jail. Instead he received a 30-day suspended sentence and a fine. A suspended sentence meant that he would not have to serve the 30 day sentence unless he violated his parole. Shelton still felt he should have received an attorney at trial, so he appealed his case to the Alabama courts. Eventually, the Supreme Court agreed to hear and decide the case in 2001. The issue they had to decide was: does a person accused of a misdemeanor have the constitutional right to an attorney even if they’re not actually sentenced to prison?