Pharmaceutical company asks for stay in Nevada execution

Pharmaceutical company asks for stay in Nevada execution

A Nevada judge halted an execution scheduled for 8pm local time on Wednesday after the pharmaceutical company Alvogen filed suit alleging the state illegally obtained its sedative midazolam-which has been part of multiple previous botched executions in other states and was one of three drugs Nevada planned to include in a cocktail that's never been used for lethal injection in the United States.

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.

Death row inmate Scott Dozier appears before District Judge Jennifer Togliatti during a hearing about his execution at the Regional Justice Center on September 11, 2017, in downtown Las Vegas.

Dozier was convicted in 2007 of the murder of Jeremiah Miller, who was robbed and shot in 2002 after traveling to Las Vegas, where Dozier had promised to help him get drugs to make methamphetamine.

He says that he prefers death over life in prison.

Dozier was also placed on suicide watch after his execution was postponed in November.

A USA judge has effectively put the execution of a two-time killer on hold after a pharmaceutical company objected to the use of one of its drugs to put someone to death.

A spokeswoman for Nevada Department of Corrections, Brooke Santina, told the Reno Gazette Journal the agency would not comment on the pending litigation.

An hour before the execution Wednesday, death penalty opponents plan to hold a vigil and rally outside the governor's mansion.

"Midazolam is not approved for use in such an application", the document said, adding uses of midazolam in other states "have been extremely controversial and have led to widespread concern that prisoners have been exposed to cruel and unusual treatment".

Emmett Till Murder Investigation Reopened Due to 'New Information'
A MS jury acquitted the two men responsible for his murder, and then a while later they confessed to the killing in a magazine. Emmett's mother demanded that her son's body be returned to Chicago, where he was put on public display for a viewing.

McKesson said it wanted nothing to do with executions and accused the state of obtaining vecuronium bromide, a drug used to stop inmates' lungs, under false pretenses. That drug has become controversial for its use in executions, and Alvogen highlighted some of those incidents in court, including the bungled 2014 Oklahoma execution that saw an inmate grimace and kick, an Arizona execution that same year that took almost two hours and the 2016 Alabama execution that had witnesses recounting that the inmate coughed and heaved.

Lawyers for Alvogen alleged that Nevada officials acquired Alvogen medicines "illicitly and through subterfuge", in the process violating state laws meant to tackle the opioid epidemic and prevent the misuse of risky drugs. The state said it would explore whether it could appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Nevada's new execution protocol also calls for the use of fentanyl to slow the inmate's breathing and cisatracurium to stop his breathing.

The lawsuit said that to perpetuate the deception, the authorities had the midazolam shipped to the department of correction's central pharmacy rather than to the prison where the execution is to take place.

It could now be several months before Dozier's execution is scheduled again.

Miller had come to Nevada from Phoenix to buy ingredients to make meth. The painkiller, a synthetic opioid, is fatal in high enough doses.

"Because Nevada is using a combination of drugs that no one has used before, there is a lot about its protocol that we don't know anything about", said Robert Dunham, death penalty center executive director.

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 a year ago.

Dozier has repeatedly said he wants to die and he doesn't particularly care if he suffers. But the state refused. The victim's torso was found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.

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.

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