Keith Lavon Burgess was convicted in a South Carolina state court for a drug offense. Although this drug offense was punishable by more than one year, South Carolina considered it a misdemeanor, not a felony. Bugress was then convicted for another drug offense in Federal Court. At his sentencing, the judge held that the "prior conviction" statute that required a minimum twenty-year sentence for anyone with a prior "felony drug conviction" applied to Burgess. In Burgess' appeal to the Court he maintained that since South Carolina considered his previous offense a misdemeanor the "prior felony drug conviction" doesn't apply to him. The Supreme Court rejected his appeal, and held that "felony" means any offense that us punishable for more than a year even if another jurisdiction classifies the offense as a misdemeanor.