Nevada execution: State cannot use drug, judge rulesJuly 11, 2018
The state was planning to use three drugs — midazolam (a sedative), fentanyl (the high-potency opioid) and cisatracurium (a paralytic) — to execute Scott Dozier on Wednesday night.
Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled in favor of the company that makes midazolam, which sued the state, saying Nevada had illegitimately acquired the product for the execution. It wants the state to return its stock of the drug to the company.
“If the state is permitted to use the midazolam manufactured by plaintiff, plaintiff has shown a reasonable probability it will suffer irreparable damages,” Gonzalez said in her Las Vegas court.
The drug maker, Alvogen, and the state are scheduled to return to court September 10.
“If people say they’re going to kill me, get to it,” he told the newspaper.
His attorney, Thomas Ericsson, told CNN that his client wants to be executed.
Although Dozier is not trying to stop his execution, there is opposition to the drug cocktail the state plans to use in carrying out the death sentence.
The Wednesday execution would be Nevada’s first in 12 years, after Daryl Mack was executed in 2006, and the first to take place in a new execution facility at Ely State Prison. Lethal injection is the only method of capital punishment that Nevada uses.
Company doesn’t want midazolam used in executions
Many drug companies don’t want their products used in executions and have restricted access to products for this purpose. It has resulted in states scrambling to find legally obtainable lethal injection drugs.
The use of midazolam remains controversial, as death penalty critics have long argued that it’s not a painkilling anesthetic and that the condemned would feel tortuous pain from the drugs that come next.
Fentanyl is part of the mixture
Nevada announced last fall that it was preparing to use fentanyl in Dozier’s execution.
“You got something that’s killing hundreds of people a day across the United States, and you got prisons who can’t get death penalty drugs, so they’re turning to the drug that’s killing hundreds of people across the United States,” he said. “This sounds like an article from the Onion,” referring to a news satire website.
Others said that given the drug’s lethality, the state’s decision wasn’t shocking.
The third drug, cisatracurium, was the subject of an appeals process last year in Dozier’s case.
Dozier had been scheduled for execution in November, but a district court judge had ruled that cisatracurium couldn’t be used in the execution over concerns about the muscle relaxant, which could hide signs of pain.
Dunham, the Death Penalty Information Center official, said that if cisatracurium is used in the the Nevada execution, it would be the first time that a state publicly acknowledged using it to execute an inmate.
“It is possible another state may have previously used cisatracurium in an execution without having publicly announced it, but as far as we know, that hasn’t happened,” he said.
CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Elwyn Lopez, Marlena Baldacci and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.