Execution blocked after company objects to use of its drug

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

Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer says that some of the seven justices are in Chicago for a Nevada State Bar Association meeting, but that the court could meet by teleconference. State officials did not immediately file an appeal after Gonzalez's decision.

His profile on Scott Dozier is titled "The Volunteer: More than a year ago, Nevada death row prisoner Scott Dozier gave up his legal appeals and asked to be executed".

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

But the ruling by Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, and the stay that followed from Judge Jennifer Togliatti, left uncertain when his execution could proceed.

Alvogen, which said the Nevada Corrections Department had obtained the sedative midazolam unlawfully, won a court order barring the product from being administered to Scott Dozier as part of the state's recently devised and untested three-drug execution process.

If Dozier is put to death on Wednesday, it would be Nevada's first execution since 2006 and the 13th since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Lawyer and death penalty expert Scott Coffee was quoted as calling the Dozier case "state-assisted suicide".

Nevada prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina had no immediate comment.

Alvogen notes that midazolam was used in several "botched" executions, including that of Clayton Lockett in 2014, where Lockett regained consciousness during his execution and died 40 minutes later of a heart attack.

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A drug company is trying to block Nevada from using one of its drugs to execute a condemned killer on Wednesday, saying the state obtained the drug illegitimately. Gonzalez set another hearing for September 10.

A second pharmaceutical company, Sandoz, also raised objections Wednesday to the use of one of its drugs - the muscle-paralyzing substance cisatracurium - in the execution.

Last year, a pharmaceutical company sued the state of Arkansas over drugs used in its lethal injections, but was unsuccessful. That drug has become controversial for its use in executions, and Alvogen highlighted some of those incidents in court, including the bungled 2014 Oklahoma execution that saw an inmate grimace and kick, an Arizona execution that same year that took almost two hours and the 2016 Alabama execution that had witnesses recounting that the inmate coughed and heaved.

Pharmaceutical companies have ethically opposed states using their drugs for capital punishment for years, but this is only the second lawsuit to be filed, the AP reported. But the state has refused.

The sedative aims to render the inmate unconscious before administration of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, and then the paralytic agent cisatracurium.

Pfizer protested past year, but Nevada refused its demand to return the diazepam and fentanyl it manufactured.

So the U.S. prison system has been getting creative, substituting the usual drugs with others that are more readily available but were never created to be used in executions.

"This whole action is just PR damage control", Smith said of Alvogen.

Midazolam, the drug at the centre of the court case that could again postpone Dozier's' death, was substituted in May because prison stocks of Valium had run out.

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Dozier was also convicted in the 2005 murder of Jasen "Griffin" Green in Phoenix before the trial in Nevada.

Mr Bice said that 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 the drug's goal - saving and improving patients' lives.

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

Dozier has said that he wishes to be executed and that being put to death is better than spending the rest of his life in prison.

"Life in prison isn't a life", the 47-year-old told the Review-Journal.

In court hearings and letters, he said there is a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison.

Dozier was sentenced to die in 2007 for first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Jeremiah Miller. 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 methamphetamine, equipment and chemicals.

Though Dozier dropped attempts to save his own life, he allowed federal public defenders to challenge the execution protocol.

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