A condemned killer in the U.S. 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.
But questions have been raised about whether Nevada's department of corrections broke the law to obtain the fentanyl, and whether the multibillion-dollar distribution company that provided the drug ignored evidence it was to be used in an execution. 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.
The previous challenge, filed past year by a different company in Arkansas, was ultimately unsuccessful in stopping that execution.
The execution of Scott Dozier, set for Wednesday night, has been halted after a temporary court injunction in Las Vegas.
Scott Dozier was sentenced to die for the 2002 robbing, killing and dismembering of a 22 year old man in a Las Vegas motel. Dozier, 47, has said he wants to die rather than spend his life in prison.
The execution plan for Dozier was revised last month to substitute midazolam for expired prison stocks of diazepam, a sedative commonly known as Valium that the state previously slated as the first drug in the lethal injection protocol.
The delay leaves Nevada reassessing its options and stokes a debate about how the 31 states that have capital punishment can put anyone to death in an era when pharmaceutical companies ban their products for that use. She said the governor had planned to be in Carson City at the time of the execution Gonzalez set a status hearing for September 10.
Brooke Santina, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections, told CNN that it has been advised not to comment on the lawsuit.
In the past, states with the death penalty typically used a cocktail of drugs that included sodium thiopental for lethal injection. The company alleged Nevada purchased the drug "by subterfuge with the undisclosed and improper intent to use it for the upcoming execution in complete disregard of plaintiff's rights".
In the Arizona case, 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.
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 objective. The state said it would explore whether it could appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. "It is deeply troubling that Nevada government officials are barreling ahead with execution when the chances of torturing Dozier are so high".
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. In 2014, an inmate in OH and another one in Arizona were left gasping and snorting before they died in what death penalty foes called botched executions.
Alvogen alleges that the state began buying drugs covertly and that Nevada's department of corrections used a licence held by the state's chief medical officer to surreptitiously obtain the midazolam.
"Not one response was received", according to a 2016 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We've seen them consider abolishing the death penalty", said Dunham. Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die.
In court hearings and letters, he said there is a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase. 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 that the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet. Her ruling: "The state is restrained and enjoined from using midazolam".