Judge Halts Nevada Execution

Jul 11, 2018

Death row inmate Scott Dozier was scheduled to be the first person executed in Nevada in more than a decade. Just hours before Wednesday night's execution, however, multiple drug companies intervened in court, and a Las Vegas judge has halted the procedure. KUNR has updates here.

Updated 3:00 pm Thursday:

On Wednesday, a Las Vegas Judge postponed death row inmate Scott Dozier’s execution hours before it was scheduled to occur. Alvogen, the makers of midazolam, sued the State of Nevada, to prevent the use of their drug in executions.

Todd Bice, an attorney for Alvogen, said the company had sent a letter to state officials in April telling them it opposes the use of midazolam in executions. There has been public criticism of botched executions in states where midazolam has been used, and states are scrambling for methods of legally carrying out death sentences.

After the stay, Dozier was returned to death row and placed on suicide watch until prison officials could administer a psychological examination. Dozier was also placed on suicide watch after his execution was postponed last November. KUNR’s Tim Lenard spoke with VICE correspondent Gianna Toboni, who has been in contact with Dozier for almost a year.

Updated 12:07 pm Wednesday:

A Nevada judge is halting the use of a drug in the execution of a twice-convicted killer, Scott Raymond Dozier, mere hours before he was scheduled to die by a first-of-its-kind lethal injection mixture.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered the delay Wednesday morning in response to a challenge by New Jersey-based drugmaker Alvogen, which says it doesn't want its product, midazolam, used in "botched" executions.

The order is the first time a drug company has successfully sued to halt an execution in the U.S. involving one of its drugs.

Updated 10:05 am Wednesday:

A second drug company is asking to intervene in a last-minute Nevada court hearing hours before a twice-convicted killer is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.

Drug company Sandoz wants to join New Jersey-based drugmaker Alvogen in its objection to the Wednesday evening execution of Scott Raymond Dozier. Sandoz produces the paralytic cisatracurium and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which are two of the three drugs Nevada had planned to use on Dozier in a first-of-its-kind combination.

New Jersey-based Alvogen says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday it doesn't want its product used in "botched" executions.

Alvogen produces the sedative midazolam, which Nevada Department of Prisons Brooke Santina says was the first drug scheduled to be used on Dozier, according to the protocol signed by department director James Dzurenda. She says she did not know of any alternative.

Dozier is steadfast in his desire to be put to death, but a final-hour lawsuit by a drug company could halt his lethal injection. Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die and doesn't care if it's painful.

The lawsuit is the second legal challenge to an execution by a drug company in the U.S. A previous challenge in Arkansas was unsuccessful.

Updated at 10 am Wednesday:

Midazolam is one of the three drugs in a new procedure the Nevada Department of Corrections developed in order to carry out executions. At this time, it's unclear if the execution will proceed and a court hearing is underway in Las Vegas.

Alvogen, makers of the sedative midazolam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday to prevent the State of Nevada from using their drug in the planned execution of Scott Dozier Wednesday night.

While the legal battles continue, KUNR's Tim Lenard spoke with a correspondent, from VICE on HBO, Gianna Toboni who has been in contact with Dozier for months and actually met with him this week.

Toboni says Dozier is well aware of what the drug might do to him.

“His end goal here, as he continues to say, is that, ‘I’m not getting off that table.’ And I said, ‘Are you concerned at all that the midazolam is going to cause you to struggle,’ and he goes, ‘You know what? I almost expect it to.’”

In 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it was okay for states to use midazolam for lethal injection however organizations like the Nevada ACLU still object to its use saying it has been linked to problematic executions in several states.

Credit Photo for VICE News Tonight on HBO.