Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Nevada execution with new, controversial drug combination on hold

Nevada execution with new, controversial drug combination on hold

The convicted Nevada inmate scheduled to die Wednesday by a three-drug lethal injection combination never before used in the USA has said repeatedly he wants his sentence carried out and he doesn't care if it's painful.

In court, Alvogen, the drug company, said their reputation would be "seriously harmed" if the drug was allowed to be used in the execution.

Nevada corrections officials revised their lethal injection protocol last week, saying they were switching to midazolam to replace expired prison supplies of another sedative, diazepam. Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die.

Pharmaceutical companies have ethically opposed states using their drugs for capital punishment for years, but this is only the second lawsuit to be filed, the AP reported.

The execution of 47-year-old Dozier is scheduled for Wednesday night.

The firm "does not condone the use of any of its drug products, including midazolam, for use in state sponsored executions" and doesn't sell directly to the prison system, it said in a statement.

Jordan T. Smith, an assistant Nevada solicitor general, countered at Wednesday's hearing that Nevada didn't put up a "smokescreen" or do anything wrong in getting the drugs.

Many states are having difficulty obtaining the drugs for lethal injection cocktails, as manufacturers increasingly object to having their drugs used in this way.

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.

New Jersey-based Alvogen had urged the judge to block the use of its sedative midazolam, saying the state illegally secured the product through "subterfuge" and intended it for unapproved purposes. She says she did not know of any alternative.

Pfizer, the global drug giant, has been demanding Nevada authorities return stocks of Valium and a powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl it also produces.

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Scott Dozier was scheduled to die at 8 p.m. PDT Wednesday at the state prison in Ely.

"NDOC has been advised not to comment on the lawsuit", department spokeswoman Brooke Santina said in an email Tuesday.

The state high court in May decided on procedural grounds that the execution could go forward, but did not review the three-drug protocol that death penalty experts have characterized as experimental and risky.

Death-penalty watchers have pointed to inconsistent results with midazolam since the 2014 executions of Dennis McGuire in OH and Josph Rudolph Wood III in Arizona. Although Dozier waived his appeals in 2016 and told reporters he wishes to be put to death rather than held in prison, human rights advocates have not wavered in opposing plans for his execution.

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

The double murderer was convicted in 2007 of robbing, killing and dismembering a 22-year-old man in Las Vegas.

Midazolam, which the World Health Organisation counts on its list of essential medicines, has been implicated in a number of botched executions in the US.

It was the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada that sued and forced the state to release details about where it obtained its execution drugs.

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 previous year. The victim's torso was found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

The lawsuit names the director of Nevada's department of corrections, James Dzurenda, and the state's chief medical officer, Dr Ihsan Azzam, as conspiring to buy the midazolam along with an unidentified doctor who will participate in the execution. 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.

Dozier, a former stripper and ice dealer, has said he doesn't care if the deadly combination of three drugs hurts, he just wants to die.

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