The State of Alabama (plaintiff) charged Gordon (defendant) with illegally voting in a general election. The state alleged that Gordon was under 21 years old at the time of the election. During the trial, Gordon presented two witnesses who testified on his behalf. The first witness was Gordon’s mother, who testified that she believed Gordon was 21 at the time of the election. Gordon’s mother also testified that she told Gordon he turned 21 shortly before the election. The second witness was an acquaintance who had known Gordon his whole life. This witness provided similar testimony. Gordon requested the trial court to provide jury instructions, providing that if Gordon believed he was 21 as a result of these statements, he should be found not guilty. The trial court denied the request, and the jury convicted Gordon. Gordon appealed.