The petitioner in this case was the State of Alabama which was represented by William H. Pryor, Jr. He basically argued that the Supreme Court had already decided that the state does not have to provide a poor defendant a lawyer in a misdemeanor case when they are not actually going to be sent to prison. Since Shelton would not go to prison unless he violated his parole, the state was not obligated to provide him with a tax-payer funded attorney. He also argued that giving defendants a suspended sentence with probation would be a good incentive for rehabilitation. That means that people would be less likely to commit another crime if they knew they could go back to prison for breaking their parole.