Petitioner Charles Rodriguez (Rodriguez) and the real party in interest, Nicole Eddowes (Eddowes), divorced in November 2001. The terms of the initial custody order and divorce decree awarded primary physical custody of the couple’s daughter to Eddowes and ordered Rodriguez to pay child support, half of the child’s insurance premiums, and half of any unreimbursed medical expenses incurred on the child’s behalf. Rodriguez failed to make payments as required, and on March 1, 2004, the district court issued its third contempt order against Rodriguez for the non-payment of child support. The district court denied Rodriguez’s assertion that he was an indigent defendant and entitled to appointed counsel in the contempt proceedings because of the possibility of jail. The court ordered Rodriguez to serve twenty-five days in jail, with the possibility of early release upon payment of $10,000 in outstanding arrearages. Rodriguez filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the district court order denying him counsel, holding him in contempt, and sentencing him to jail. The Nevada Supreme Court ordered a temporary stay pending review. The Nevada Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel does not apply in civil contempt proceedings. However, due process requires the trial court to evaluate the need for appointing counsel on a case-by-case basis. The court remanded the case to the trial court for a determination of whether Rodriguez was indigent for purposes of determining whether he was entitled to the appointment of counsel.
Hernandez, Rami, "Summary of Rodriguez v. District Court, 128 Nev. Adv. Op. 14" (2004). Nevada Supreme Court Summaries. 697.