Execution blocked after company objects to use of its drug

Cheryl Sanders
July 13, 2018

Alvogen, the pharmaceutical company, said in a statement that it "does not condone the use of any of its drug products, including midazolam, for use in state sponsored executions".

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez of the Eight Judicial District Court issued a temporary restraining order halting the use of the drug after the company said Nevada obtained it through "subterfuge".

But a last-minute lawsuit filed by a drug company that doesn't want its product used in "botched" executions could derail Scott Raymond Dozier's scheduled Wednesday execution.

Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier, shown here during a 2017 court appearance, was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday night but the execution was postponed indefinitely.

Dozier has said that he wishes to be executed and that being put to death is better than spending the rest of his life in prison.

Dozier, whose execution also was postponed in November amid concerns about the drugs being used and who has attempted suicide in the past, was disappointed, Ericsson said. Depending on what happens in Dozier's case, Nebraska ultimately could wind up carrying out the first fentanyl-assisted execution, something that state is seeking to do this summer.

According to the Review-Journal, Gonzalez has scheduled a status hearing in the case for September 10, while Dozier's death warrant expires at the end of the week.


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

"We're glad that the state is being held accountable and that the information regarding these execution drugs and how the state plans to proceed is open and transparent", she said.

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.

Dozier will be injected with fentanyl and two other drugs.

In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that the use of midazolam in lethal injections is not a violation of the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Rose said the rights group is examining why the distributor delivered the drug to the Nevada prison authorities even after it was publicly known they meant to use fentanyl to kill Dozier.

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.


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.

Todd Bice, an attorney with Alvogen, accused the state of deceptively obtaining the company's drug by having it shipped to a pharmacy in Las Vegas rather than the state prison in Ely.

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. But the state has refused. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid well known for its role in the opioid epidemic, has "never been used in an execution before".

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. Miller's headless torso was later found stuffed in a suitcase in a bin, news media reported. A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break the victim's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container.

Alvogen notes that midazolam was used in several "botched" executions, including that of Clayton Lockett in 2014, where Lockett regained consciousness during his execution and died 40 minutes later of a heart attack.

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.

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


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