Judge Halts Nevada's Controversial Execution Plan

Drugmaker accused state of using 'subterfuge' to obtain one of the drugs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 11, 2018 2:13 PM CDT
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This undated Nevada Department of Corrections photo shows death row inmate Scott Raymond Dozier, who was convicted in 2007 of robbing, killing and dismembering a 22-year-old man in Las Vegas, and was convicted in Arizona in 2005 of another murder and dismemberment near Phoenix.   (Nevada Department of Corrections via AP)
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(Newser) – A Nevada judge effectively put the execution of a two-time killer on hold Wednesday after a pharmaceutical company objected to the use of one of its drugs to put someone to death, the AP reports. Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez disallowed the use of the drug in a ruling that came down less than nine hours before Scott Raymond Dozier, 47, was to be executed with a three-chemical injection never before tried in the US. New Jersey-based Alvogen had urged the judge to block the use of its sedative midazolam, saying that the state illegally obtained the product through "subterfuge" and intended to use it for unapproved purposes. The pharmaceutical company raised concerns that the drug could lead to a botched execution, citing cases that seemingly went awry elsewhere around the country.

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. He said Alvogen had sent a letter to state officials in April telling them it opposes the use of its products in executions, particularly midazolam. The judge ruled that based on that letter, Alvogen had a reasonable probability of winning its lawsuit, and she issued the temporary restraining order against the use of the drug. 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 the execution. A third company, Pfizer, last year demanded Nevada return the third drug intended for use in the execution, the powerful opioid fentanyl. But the state refused. Fentanyl, which has been blamed for deadly overdoses across the country, has not been used before in an execution and its planned use was controversial.


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