Drug maker goes to Clark County court to stop Nevada execution

Drug maker goes to Clark County court to stop Nevada execution

A condemned killer in the United States who had given up on appeals against his execution on Wednesday received an 11th-hour reprieve after a a pharmaceutical company sued to prevent the use of one of its drugs in the lethal injection process.

New Jersey-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Alvogen filed an emergency lawsuit Tuesday, stating in court filings it doesn't want its sedative midazolam used in "botched" executions. Pharmaceutical companies have resisted the use of their drugs in executions for 10 years, citing both legal and ethical concerns.

Pfizer past year demanded that Nevada return its drugs that the state meant to use for the execution.

This undated Nevada Department of Corrections photo shows death row inmate Scott Raymond Dozier.

Dozier was sentenced to die in 2007 for first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Jeremiah Miller.

For all the maneuvering on his behalf, Dozier, who attempted suicide in the past, has said he prefers execution to life behind bars.

He has also said that he does not care if the execution is painful.

If Dozier is put to death on Wednesday, it would be Nevada's first execution since 2006 and the 13th since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who temporarily accepted Alvogen's appeal, scheduled a new hearing for September. Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said the execution would remain effectively postponed for at least that long. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, eight states now have carried out executions using a single drug _ an anesthetic _ and six others plan to do so if necessary.

Many states are having difficulty obtaining the drugs for lethal injection cocktails, as manufacturers increasingly object to having their drugs used in this way.

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A second pharmaceutical company, Sandoz, also raised objections at Wednesday's hearing to the use of one of its drugs - the muscle-paralyzing substance cisatracurium - in Dozier's execution.

In 2005, police found the grave of another victim, 26-year-old Jasen Greene, who Dozier had shot and killed.

"The Nevada Attorney General's office would prosecute, criminally, any doctor or other private citizen that engaged in this very conduct of trying to acquire drugs that you know and you have been warned you are not to acquire for this goal".

They include Sandoz, producer of the muscle-paralysis drug cisatracurium, and Pfizer, which past year attempted to reclaim fentanyl from Nevada but was rebuffed. Every state that has included midazolam in its lethal injection protocol has seen gruesome botched executions as a result.

The company filed a lawsuit asking the court to prevent the state of Nevada from using midazolam in "carrying out any capital punishment" and to order the Department of Corrections to return all its midazolam products.

The synthetic opioid fentanyl is a drug at the center of the US opioid crisis. But the state has so far refused to do so.

"The plaintiff has a reasonable probability that it will suffer damages to its business reputation which will impact investor relations and customer relations", Gonzalez said in her ruling, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Dozier repeated his desire to die during recent interviews with the Reno Gazette Journal and Las Vegas 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 a year ago. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase. A witness there testified that Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic tote that Dozier used to transport methamphetamine, equipment and chemicals. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.

"Because Nevada is using a combination of drugs that no one has used before, there is a lot about its protocol that we don't know anything about", said Robert Dunham, death penalty center executive director.

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