Drug company's lawsuit could derail scheduled Nevada execution

12 Juillet, 2018, 05:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Death row inmate Scott Dozier appears before Judge Jennifer Togliatti during a hearing about his execution at the Regional Justice Center on Monday Sept. 11 2017 in downtown Las Vegas. Richard

The execution of Scott Dozier, set for Wednesday night, has been halted after a temporary court injunction in Las Vegas.

A witness said Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Mr Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container. And on Wednesday, Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez "disallowed the use of the drug", effectively putting the execution on hold, The Associated Press reported.

Nevada prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina had no immediate comment.

If the execution had not been interrupted, Dozier would have been the first inmate in the United States to be executed by a lethal injection laced with fentanyl.

This is the second lawsuit of its kind in the US from a pharmaceutical company, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks data about the death penalty and has criticized the way capital punishment is administered in America.

Alvogen filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, accusing Nevada of acquiring the drug unlawfully and saying use of its product for an execution would cause "irreparable injury to Alvogen, its reputation, and its goodwill", according to a copy of the complaint posted by the Nevada Independent news organization.

"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's execution was stayed last November at the request of the Nevada Department of Corrections after a judge blocked the state from using cisatracurim in a newly devised and untested three-drug combination to carry out the death penalty.

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.

"While Alvogen takes no position on the death penalty itself, Alvogen's products were developed to save and improve patients' lives and their use in executions is fundamentally contrary to this objective", the company said in its complaint.

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. The painkiller, a synthetic opioid, is fatal in high enough doses.

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Assistant Solicitor General Jordan Smith, who represents the prison system, is expected to argue via video conference from Ely at Wednesday's hearing.

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.

"Life in prison isn't a life", Dozier told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Fentanyl is used to slow the heart rate, sedate and continue to suppress breathing, and finally Cisatracurium to paralyze the inmate before death.

Dozier suspended any appeals of his conviction and sentence, making him one of about 10 percent of the 1,477 inmates who gave up appeals and were executed nationwide since 1977, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. Critics say he is seeking state-assisted suicide. He is an honorably discharged Army veteran; a divorced father who became an emergency medical technician during his then-wife's high-risk pregnancy; a pastels painter; a landscaper; and a methamphetamine user, maker and dealer.

There's a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who postponed his execution past year.

In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for shooting to death another drug-trade associate, 26-year-old Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix.

Scott Dozier was sentenced to die for the 2002 robbing, killing and dismembering of a 22 year old man in a Las Vegas motel.

Miller had come to Nevada from Phoenix to buy ingredients to make meth. Miller's head was never found and he was identified by tattoos on his torso.

But they, the state, along with the director and attending physician at the execution, who has not been named, are all listed as defendants in this case.

Midazolam has been used with inconsistent results in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida and Ohio.

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