Bennie Meyes and William Douglas (defendants) were charged with 13 different felonies. They were both indigent and were represented by one public defender. The attorney requested a continuance when the trial began, claiming he was not as prepared as he should have been given the number of charges against his clients. He also claimed there was a conflict of interest between his clients, and the court should appoint separate counsel for each of them. The motion was denied. Meyes and Douglas then dismissed their attorney and renewed the motions for a continuance and separate counsel. The motions were again denied. Meyes and Douglas were jointly tried and convicted of all 13 felonies. They each appealed as of right. Both Meyes and Douglas requested the assistance of counsel on appeal, but their requests were denied. The court of appeals affirmed their convictions. They then petitioned the state supreme court for discretionary review, but their petitions were denied. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.