Rutledge (defendant) ran a drug ring. Rutledge was charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs under 21 U.S.C. § 846 and the conduct of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) under 21 U.S.C. § 848. A jury found Rutledge guilty, and the judge sentenced him to concurrent life sentences for each count. Rutledge appealed on the ground that he was being punished twice for one offense. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed that conspiracy was a lesser included offense of the CCE count but affirmed the convictions. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to address a circuit split on the issue.