Old Chief (defendant) was charged with violation of a federal statute making it illegal for a convicted felon to carry a firearm. Old Chief had previously been convicted of assault causing serious bodily injury, a felony. He sought to stipulate to the evidence of his prior conviction and have the court so instruct the jury. In doing so, he sought to prevent the prosecution from proffering any other evidence about his prior conviction on account of its unnecessary prejudicial effect against him in the eyes of the jury. The district court denied Old Chief’s offer to stipulate and admitted the full record of his prior conviction. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.