The defendant was Clarence Earl Gideon, who was charged with stealing money from a Florida pool hall. A jury convicted him of theft and a judge sentenced him to five years in jail. Gideon has asked for a lawyer to represent him, but the state of Florida at that time did not provide attorneys to those defendants who could not afford them. Gideon on his own wrote a five-page petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking them to hear his case. The U.S. Supreme Court appointed well-known D.C. lawyer Abe Fort-as to represent Gideon at the Court.