Cronic (defendant) was indicted on mail fraud charges related to a check-kiting scheme. The United States (plaintiff) spent four and one-half years investigating the case. Shortly before trial, Cronic’s attorney withdrew from representation. The court appointed a young real estate lawyer to represent Cronic. The appointed attorney had only 25 days to prepare for trial. Cronic’s co-defendants agreed to testify on behalf of the prosecution and Cronic was convicted on 11 of 13 counts. Cronic appealed and the federal court of appeals reversed the conviction upon the conclusion that Cronic’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel had been violated. The United States petitioned the Supreme Court for review.