Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in US 1st

Jeremiah Miller is shown in a portrait obtained through Clark County District Court's evidence vault. Miller was killed by Scott Dozier in 2002

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

Alvogen claims in court papers that the drug was obtained by state officials through subterfuge, including the misuse of the Nevada chief medical officer's licence to buy controlled medications that were then illegally diverted for use in the execution chamber.

The drugs were ordered from one of the US's largest pharmaceutical distribution companies, Cardinal Health, which is among wholesalers facing a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of profiteering from the opioid epidemic by delivering vast quantities of prescription painkillers to small pharmacies and ignoring evidence they were being used by people addicted to the drugs.

Following the use of midazolam in a number of botched executions, Alvogen wrote to the governors, attorney generals and prison authorities in every state with a death penalty saying it "strongly objects to the use of its products in capital punishment".

Midazolam maker Alvogen said this week it was considering legal action to prevent what it called "improper use" of its product in the execution.

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.

According to the Review-Journal, Gonzalez has scheduled a status hearing in the case for September 10, while Dozier's death warrant expires at the end of the week.

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.

However, a pharmaceutical company filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Nevada State Department of Corrections over plans to use one of its drugs, midazolam, in the execution. But the state has refused.

Scott Raymond Dozier appears in a photo provided by the Nevada Department of Corrections in Nevada, U.S., July 11, 2018.

However, the legal challenge filed by Alvogen is only the second of its kind in the U.S., said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Centre in Washington.

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The health care supply company McKesson filed a similar lawsuit in Arkansas a year ago, but that challenge was rejected.

Midazolam was substituted in May for expired prison stocks of diazepam, a similar sedative commonly known as Valium.

Even if, as has happened before with these experimental injections, the drug combination leaves him paralyzed yet still conscious, effectively suffocating him alive. They include Sandoz, producer of the muscle-paralysis drug cisatracurium, and Pfizer, which previous year attempted to reclaim fentanyl from Nevada but was rebuffed.

Bice said Alvogen does not take a position on the death penalty itself but opposes the use of the drug in a way that is fundamentally contrary to its objective - saving and improving lives.

Midazolam has been used with inconsistent results in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida and Ohio.

For all the maneuvering on his behalf, Dozier, who attempted suicide in the past, has said he prefers execution to life behind bars. It also said it "does not accept direct orders from prison systems or departments of correction".

There's a limit to how much artwork and physical exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to the Las Vegas judge who postponed his execution. The victim's torso was found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for shooting to death another drug-trade associate, 26-year-old Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix. 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.

Though Dozier dropped attempts to save his own life, he allowed federal public defenders to challenge the execution protocol. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.

But they, the state, along with the director and attending physician at the execution, who has not been named, are all listed as defendants in this case.

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