Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S. first
13 July, 2018, 20:28
The state of Nevada scheduled Dozier's execution for Wednesday, when a lethal injection would be administered with a three-drug combination, one of which is a sedative produced by Alvogen, Midazolam.
The pharmaceutical company urged a judge to block the use of midazolam, saying the state of Nevada obtained the product through "subterfuge" for unapproved purposes.
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.
But a last-minute lawsuit filed by a drug company that doesn't want its product used in "botched" executions could derail Scott Raymond Dozier's scheduled Wednesday execution.
This undated Nevada Department of Corrections photo shows death row inmate Scott Raymond Dozier.
Dozier, 47, was convicted in 2007 of murdering and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller five years earlier at a Las Vegas motel. He has been asking to be put to death for more than a year and appeared to be about to get his wish after waiving his appeals and thwarting his defense lawyers' attempts to obtain a stay of execution.
According to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center, a widely cited resource on the subject, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia have all used midazolam in three-drug executions in recent years, with questionable results. Depending on what happens in Dozier's case, Nebraska ultimately could wind up carrying out the first fentanyl-assisted execution, something that state is seeking to do this summer.
Gonzalez set a status check on the case for September 10, court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said.
Relatives of Dozier's victims are not expected at his execution, Nevada prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina said. The ruling effectively put the execution on hold. These three-drug cocktail, he said, "sounds like a genuinely lethal regimen that I would imagine would be associated with very little discomfort". "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".
A second pharmaceutical company, Sandoz, also raised objections at Wednesday's hearing to the use of one of its drugs - the muscle-paralyzing substance cisatracurium - in executing Dozier.
In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the shooting and mauling of 26-year-old Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix.
The company further alleges that the doctor who acts as medical officer at the execution will be breaking a Nevada law requiring that a physician administer controlled drugs exclusively for a legitimate medical goal.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the state of Nevada; the Nevada Department of Corrections, its director and medical examiner; and the execution's attending physician, who has not been identified.
Investigators deduced that Dozier had offered to help Mr Miller obtain ingredients to make meth in exchange for US$12,000.
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.
Alvogen learned from disclosures made in response to litigation by the Nevada Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union that the department of corrections acquired the drug from Cardinal Health, a distributor, through purchase orders from May 2018 that were to be completed in June 2018, according to the lawsuit. But the state has refused.
"Life in prison isn't a life", Dozier told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday morning.
The synthetic opioid fentanyl is a drug at the center of the USA opioid crisis.
There was a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters a year ago, according to ABC News in the US. A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase in an apartment building trash bin, also missing lower legs and hands.
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