The Nevada Supreme Court Monday ordered District judge Mike Griffin to take a Carson man's drivers' license because he owes more than $20,000 in back child support in California.
Stephen Q. Ryder originally got Griffin to agree that taking his license would be "unjustified and counterproductive" after he made a payment of $3,450 to catch up his back child support in Nevada and agreed to begin making regular payments in Nevada. But that included only $850 on the more than $20,000 owed in California.
The Carson City court ruled that Ryder's payment satisfied all of his Nevada obligations and that, therefore, he could keep his license.
"The judge said he was making a good faith effort," said Deputy Carson District Attorney Mark Forsberg.
But it was counter to the recommendations of a master who recommended Ryder be made to pay $5,625 immediately and begin paying the $625 a month imposed on him by a California judge in 1994.
According to the Nevada Supreme Court, it was also a misinterpretation of Nevada law, which requires that he either pay all back payments or pay an amount equal to one year's payments as ordered by the court. Since Ryder owed $200 a month in support plus $425 a month to make up the $20,000 in arrears, he would have had to pay $7,500 - nearly double the cash he paid in the 1996 hearing.
Forsberg said the law doesn't give the option of leaving Ryder his drivers' license.
He will take a new look at the four-year old case now that the Supreme Court has ruled to see what Ryder still owes in the case. He said if the man hasn't made an effort to catch up, he will seek revocation of his license.
"What this shows you is the length to which people will got o avoid paying for support of their children," said Forsberg. "And the lengths we're willing to go to collect it," he said adding that he doesn't plan to give up on the case.