Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Execution of killer Scott Dozier postponed after Las Vegas court ruling

Execution of killer Scott Dozier postponed after Las Vegas court ruling

However, a pharmaceutical company filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Nevada State Department of Corrections over plans to use one of its drugs, midazolam, in the execution.

But drug company Alvogen says its sedative midazolam was illegally obtained by prison authorities and should not be used in an execution. A previous challenge in Arkansas was unsuccessful.

It's unclear if there's enough opposition to stave off the execution, though the ACLU is looking into the legality of how Nevada obtained the fentanyl.

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. "It is deeply troubling that Nevada government officials are barreling ahead with execution when the chances of torturing Dozier are so high".

Three drug companies have now objected to Nevada's efforts to use their drugs to execute a man via lethal injection.

Lawyer and death penalty expert Scott Coffee was quoted as calling the Dozier case "state-assisted suicide".

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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.

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. They want the use of its drugs in the execution to be judged illegal.

Cardinal Health did not immediately respond to phone or email requests for comment.

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.

The company points to what it called "botched" executions in other parts of the country where their drug has been used.

New Jersey-based Alvogen had urged the judge to block the use of its sedative midazolam, saying that Nevada illegally obtained the product through "subterfuge" and meant to use it for unapproved purposes.

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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.

His profile on Scott Dozier is titled "The Volunteer: More than a year ago, Nevada death row prisoner Scott Dozier gave up his legal appeals and asked to be executed". He said drugs ordered by the state prison system are regularly shipped to Las Vegas. Pfizer protested past year, but Nevada refused the pharmaceutical company's demand to return the diazepam and fentanyl it manufactured. Her ruling: "The state is restrained and enjoined from using midazolam".

Dozier was sentenced to death in 2007 for robbing, killing and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at a Las Vegas motel in 2002.

"Life in prison isn't a life", he was quoted as saying in a Las Vegas Review-Journal interview published on Sunday. In 2014, an inmate in OH and another one in Arizona were left gasping and snorting before they died in what death penalty foes called botched executions.

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. Shortages of the drug, which has seen its distribution greatly restricted by the European Union, have forced states to get creative ― often adopting what may be unconstitutional alternatives. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase. A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break the victim's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container. Dozier, 47, has said he wants to die rather than spend his life in prison.

Miller had come to Nevada from Phoenix to buy ingredients to make meth.

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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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