Drug company's lawsuit could derail scheduled Nevada execution

Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S. first

Scott Dozier wants to die by untested method, even if it’s painful

New Jersey-based Alvogen filed court documents Tuesday saying Nevada prison officials illegally obtained the sedative midazolam and demanding it be returned and not used in Dozier's execution.

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

Dozier was convicted in 2007 of the murder of Jeremiah Miller, who was robbed and shot to death in 2002 after traveling to Las Vegas, where Dozier had promised to help him obtain drugs to make methamphetamine.

"The Midazolam has been used in other executions in half a dozen other states with really bad consequences- seriously prolonged executions, with gasping really tortuous effects", says Nancy Hart with Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

A U.S. judge has effectively put the execution of a two-time killer on hold after a pharmaceutical company objected to the use of one of its drugs to put someone to death.

The state is expected to appeal the judge's order to the state Supreme Court, and the judge in Las Vegas has scheduled a September 10 hearing involving drug company attorneys.

Brooke Santina, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections, told CNN that it has been advised not to comment on the lawsuit.

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An hour before the execution Wednesday, death penalty opponents plan to hold a vigil and rally outside the governor's mansion.

Todd Bice, an attorney for Alvogen, said the company had sent a letter to state officials in April telling them it opposes the use of midazolam in executions.

Fordham University law professor Deborah Denno said numerous drugs previously used for executions were manufactured in European countries that don't allow the death penalty.

Executions in several states have been stymied by global drug companies' opposition to supplying products for death sentences, and difficulties in finding effective replacements.

In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the shooting and mauling of 26-year-old Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix.

Since then, it has been subject to legal challenges at state and federal levels by inmates and drugs companies.

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.

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"While Alvogen takes no position on the death penalty itself, Alvogen's products were developed to save and improve patients' lives and their use in executions is fundamentally contrary to this goal", Alovgen lawyers wrote.

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.

Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die and doesn't care if it's painful.

The American pharmaceutical company Alvogen had sued Nevada to prevent the use of its medicines in the execution. But the state has refused.

Nathan O'Neal of KSNV News 3, an NBC affiliate, and Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter David Ferrara said on Twitter Wednesday that Smith plans to file an emergency appeal with Nevada's Supreme Court to force the execution to proceed, but the high court has not yet received the filing.

The sedative is meant to render the inmate unconscious before he is administered the synthetic opioid fentanyl and then paralytic agent cisatracurium. Her ruling: "The state is restrained and enjoined from using midazolam".

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 trash bin, media said. A witness 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 meth, equipment and chemicals. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.

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