Drug company lawsuit could stall Nevada execution

Drug company lawsuit could stall Nevada execution

The convicted Nevada inmate scheduled to die Wednesday by a three-drug lethal injection combination never before used in the US has said repeatedly he wants his sentence carried out and he doesn't care if it's painful.

Alvogen accused Nevada correction officials of illegally obtaining midazolam, as it is opposed to the use of any of its drugs in state-sponsored executions. Clark County District Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said the company would also need to file with Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez a request for a court order to halt the proceeding.

US drug manufacturers have increasingly refused to sell states any drugs that could be used in the procedure, after disturbing details emerged from a series of botched lethal executions across the nation.A drug company unsuccessfully sued Arkansas a year ago to ban the state from using one of its drugs in the procedure.

The double murderer was convicted in 2007 of robbing, killing and dismembering a 22-year-old man in Las Vegas.

Dozier, a twice-convicted killer who attempted suicide in the past, has said he prefers death to a life in prison.

The midazolam would be used to sedate Dozier before he is killed using fentanyl, a drug at the forefront of the U.S. opioid epidemic that was also allegedly obtained illicitly. Gonzalez set a hearing in the case for September 10. 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", Alvogen said. The ruling effectively put the execution on hold. The company said the state had misled it by saying the drugs were being used for medical reasons.

Sandoz, which produces other drugs Nevada plans to use in the execution, said it wanted to object to the procedure although it hasn't yet joined the suit.

This is the second lawsuit of its kind in the USA from a pharmaceutical company, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks data about the death penalty and has criticized the way capital punishment is administered in America.

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.

The state Supreme Court later overruled that decision.

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

Nevada's last execution occurred in 2006, when Daryl Linnie Mack asked to be put to death for his conviction in a 1988 rape and murder in Reno.

Alvogen, in a statement after the hearing, said it was pleased Gonzalez granted a temporary restraining order blocking the use of midazolam in the execution, which was scheduled for Wednesday night. Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die.

In Nevada, the sedative is meant to render the inmate unconscious before the person is given the synthetic opioid fentanyl and then the paralytic agent cisatracurium. But the state has refused.

He was convicted of second-degree murder in the Arizona slaying of Jasen "Griffin" Greene and sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2005, before he was brought to Nevada to face charges in Miller's death.

"Life in prison isn't a life", the 47-year-old inmate told the Review-Journal.

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 previous year. Miller's torso was later found in a suitcase in a trash bin, local 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.

"They claim that this case has nothing to do with the death penalty but in the same breath they argue 'We don't wanna be associated with it, ' and the effect of this, let's not kid ourselves, will be to stop an execution that's happening in less than 12 hours", Assistant Solicitor General Jordan Smith said to the court. In response, states including Ohio, Florida and Oklahoma have adopted or suggested new and untested drug combinations.

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.