Execution Blocked after Company Objects to Use of Its Drug

  • Execution Blocked after Company Objects to Use of Its Drug

Execution Blocked after Company Objects to Use of Its Drug

Scott Raymond Dozier appears in a photo provided by the Nevada Department of Corrections in Nevada, U.S., July 11, 2018.

Per The Associated Press, Dozier has repeatedly affirmed his desire to die, even if it's painful.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered the delay after a hearing in which drugmaker Alvogen said the Nevada obtained the product through "subterfuge" for unapproved purposes.

Alvogen said in its lawsuit that midazolam has been involved in a number of botched executions across the United States when it failed to sufficiently sedate the condemned man.

The execution of Scott Dozier, set for Wednesday night, has been halted after a temporary court injunction in Las Vegas. State officials could appeal right away to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Togliatti invited state Supreme Court review, saying she expected the Nevada execution to be closely watched by officials in states that have struggled in recent years to identify and obtain drugs from pharmaceutical companies that don't want their products used for the death penalty.

A second pharmaceutical company, Sandoz, also raised objections Wednesday to the use of one of its drugs - the muscle-paralyzing substance cisatracurium - in the execution.

Alvogen said the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of midazolam as therapy and any other use is an offence. The legal challenge filed by Alvogen is only the second of its kind in the U.S, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.

The previous challenge, filed past year by a different company in Arkansas, was ultimately unsuccessful in stopping that execution.

However, the legal challenge filed by Alvogen is only the second of its kind in the USA, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Centre in Washington.

Alvogen's complaint, filed Tuesday, pointed out that "past attempts by other states to use the medicine in lethal injections have been extremely controversial, and have led to widespread concern that prisoners have been exposed to cruel and unusual treatment".

Dozier did, however, let federal public defenders review and challenge the execution protocol drawn up past year by state medical and prison officials for Nevada's first lethal injection since 2006. But the state refused.

Jordan T Smith, an assistant Nevada solicitor general, countered at Wednesday's hearing that Nevada did not put up a "smokescreen" or do anything wrong in getting the drugs. "And contrary to the state's belief, the state is just as much bound to the law as is a private citizen", Todd Bice, the Attorney for Alvogen said. The state argued that the argument was a last-ditch effort by Alvogen at damage control after it "got pressure from death penalty advocates".

Midazolam has been used as a replacement for Valium - diazepam - after Nevada's stocks of the sedative expired, a Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) release said. The drug is meant to render the inmate unconscious.

David Juurlink, an expert in toxicology at the University of Toronto, told NPR that the role of fentanyl in this protocol is to sedate a person and stop their breathing.

Bice said Alvogen does not take a position on the death penalty itself but opposes the use of the drug in a way that is fundamentally contrary to its goal - saving and improving lives.

Dozier, a twice-convicted killer who attempted suicide in the past, has said he prefers death to a life in prison.

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

Dozier was sentenced to die in 2007 for first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Jeremiah Miller.

Miller had come to Nevada from Phoenix to buy ingredients to make meth. The victim's torso was found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Last year, Dozier dropped his death penalty appeals and asked to be executed. A witness testified that Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic tote that Dozier used to transport methamphetamine, equipment and chemicals.