Judge Blocks Planned Lethal Execution in Nevada

Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S. first

Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S. first

Scott Dozier was set to be killed.

But drug company Alvogen says its sedative midazolam was illegally obtained by prison authorities and should not be used in an execution.

A Nevada judge is halting the use of a drug in the execution of twice-convicted killer Scott Raymond Dozier hours before he was scheduled to die by a first-of-its-kind lethal injection mixture.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in Nevada ordered the delay Wednesday after the company sued to prevent its drug midazolam from being used in "botched" executions.

"Using fentanyl in an execution is particularly unusual and confusing because of its place in the opioid epidemic", said the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada, Amy Rose.

Though Dozier doesn't oppose the execution, Nevada officials faced a late challenge from Alvogen, a pharmaceutical firm that said the state "illegitimately acquired" its drug, the sedative midazolam. It also said it "does not accept direct orders from prison systems or departments of correction".

The Nevada department of corrections said it had no comment on the lawsuit. It claimed the department of corrections knew the drug was prohibited for use in executions.

A drug manufacturer filed suit Tuesday in an effort to stop Wednesday's execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier. And Nevada is no exception.

"Life in prison isn't a life", he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against the company and allowed that execution to go forward, but legal questions about whether pharmaceutical companies can block use of their drugs in the death penalty haven't been resolved, Dunham said. Dozier, who is on death row and is asking a judge to force the state to carry out his execution. It's been postponed before.

Another judge formally issued an indefinite stay of the execution.

Todd Bice, an attorney representing Alvogen said the company's lawsuit was not about the constitutionality of the death penalty nor whether Dozier deserved the death penalty - it had exclusively to do with business. It may just be by default because I'm the chief medical officer of the state.

Dozier was sentenced to death in 2002 after being convicted of killing and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller.

"You got something that's killing hundreds of people a day across the United States, and you got prisons who can't get death penalty drugs, so they're turning to the drug that's killing hundreds of people across the United States", he said. As he told the Marshall Project: "I think it's just time for me to pay the price". He said Alvogen didn't have a contract in place with Cardinal Health that would have blocked the drug's sale for executions.

"It's somewhat ironic that at the same time that the Justice Department and states are talking about how risky fentanyl is, and how it's created a national public health emergency, that states are now turning to it as a supposedly safe way of killing prisoners", Dunham added.

This is viewer supported news.

The plan for Thursday is to sedate Dozier with midazolam, then administer the opioid fentanyl to slow and perhaps stop his breathing, followed by muscle-paralysing drug cisatracurium.

The document notes that midazolam (one of three drugs that were to be used in the lethal injection cocktail) "is not approved for use in such an application". Earlier that year, another inmate, Clayton Lockett, had been injected with midazolam, but instead of becoming unconscious, he twitched, convulsed and spoke. And though it is part of a three-drug protocol, Juurlink added that fentanyl could be powerful enough to work on its own.

An hour before the execution Wednesday, death penalty opponents plan to hold a vigil and rally outside the governor's mansion. Healthcare companies make drugs to save lives, not to end them in experimental executions. But the legal challenge filed by Alvogen is only the second of its kind in the US, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington D.C.

"They've gone in all those different directions".

Lethal injection was first written into USA law by the state of Oklahoma, in 1977.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.