Richard Stepniewski (petitioner) was convicted of 12 counts of home improvement trade practice violations in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin circuit court and sentenced to serve one year in prison on one of the counts plus six consecutive and five concurrent one-year sentences, stayed by probation, for the remaining counts. Due to a prior felony conviction, the court additionally imposed a six-month prison term to be served consecutively to the other sentences. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed the convictions. Thereafter, Stepniewski filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court, arguing that his convictions without proof of criminal intent violated his constitutional right to due process. The court agreed and granted the writ. Gagnon appealed.