U.S. first fentanyl execution halted; Nevada illegitimately acquired drugs, court said

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

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

The drug company that creates the sedative Midazolam, which was expected to be one of three drugs used in the execution, sued the State of Nevada and the Department of Corrections, claiming Alvogen was misled in what the drug would be used for.

According to the pharmaceutical company, the state obtained their drug illegally, and Alvogen wants that drug returned to them.

But the ruling by Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez meant it was uncertain when or whether the execution could proceed.

The Alvogen challenge in Nevada carried echoes of a drug distributor's attempts previous year to have courts block Arkansas from using a chemical it sold in a planned series of executions.

In the November case, Dozier was sentenced to die for robbing, killing and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at the iconic (and now demolished) La Concha motel on the Las Vegas Strip.

"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". Depending on what happens in Dozier's case, Nebraska ultimately could wind up carrying out the first fentanyl-assisted execution, something that state is seeking to do this summer.

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.

Prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina said Dozier was placed on suicide watch as a precaution to give officials time to have him undergo a psychological evaluation. 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.

Alvogen said the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of midazolam as therapy and any other use is an offence.

A drug manufacturer filed suit Tuesday in an effort to stop Wednesday's execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier.

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This is the second lawsuit of its kind in the USA from a pharmaceutical company, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks data about the death penalty and has criticized the way capital punishment is administered in America.

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.

But he allowed lawyers a year ago to challenge the three-drug method that Nevada planned to use, including the sedative diazepam, the potent opioid fentanyl and a muscle paralyzing drug called cisatracuriam. She tells the Guardian execution strategies are normally reviewed by courts through inmate appeals.

Noting that "eyewitness accounts of recent executions using midazolam are full of grizzly details", ACLU Nevada's legal director Amy Rose wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

Alvogen, in a statement after the hearing, said it was pleased Gonzalez granted a temporary restraining order blocking the use of midazolam in the execution, which was scheduled for Wednesday night.

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. The state refused, however. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid well known for its role in the opioid epidemic, has "never been used in an execution before". But the legal challenge filed by Alvogen is only the second of its kind in the USA, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.

"Life in prison isn't a life", he was quoted as saying in a Las Vegas Review-Journal interview published on Sunday.

There was a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters past year, according to ABC News in the US. 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.

Midazolam has been used with inconsistent results in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida and Ohio. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.

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