Nevada death-row inmate on legal delays: ‘Just get it done’
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada death-row inmate whose execution has been postponed twice said a legal fight over the drugs to be used in his lethal injection is taking a tortuous toll on him and his family and he just wants his sentence carried out.
The state should “just get it done, just do it effectively and stop fighting about it,” Scott Raymond Dozier told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
“I want to be really clear about this. This is my wish,” Dozier said in a brief telephone call from Ely State Prison. “They should stop punishing me and my family for their inability to carry out the execution.”
The Nevada Supreme Court took over the case late Wednesday involving the drugs at the request of state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, with an eye toward rescheduling Dozier’s execution for mid-November.
As a result, a state court hearing was cancelled Thursday involving a request by a third drug company to join two other firms in a legal challenge over the proposed use of their products.
Nevada law calls for capital punishment by lethal injection. But pharmaceutical companies nationwide have objected to their drugs being used in executions.
In Nebraska, a German pharmaceutical company is suing to stop the use of its potassium chloride in what would be that state’s first execution in more than two decades.
Tennessee was due Thursday evening to execute its first inmate since 2009, using the sedative midazolam, the muscle-relaxer vecuronium bromide and then potassium chloride to stop the inmate’s heart. On Monday, the Tennessee Supreme Court said a lawsuit filed by inmates contesting the execution drugs was not likely to succeed.
In Nevada, Deputy Solicitor General Jordan T. Smith has argued that Sandoz, the maker of a muscle paralytic agent, didn’t object before Dozier’s execution was postponed in November and is now jumping on a public relations wave with drugmakers Alvogen and Hikma Pharmaceuticals.
The state Supreme Court accepted a decision last week by Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez to let Hikma, a maker of the opioid fentanyl, join a lawsuit initially filed by Alvogen, producer of the sedative midazolam.
The companies say they publicly declared they didn’t want their products used in executions and allege that Nevada improperly obtained their drugs for Dozier’s execution before it was postponed in July.
Nevada hasn’t executed an inmate since 2006, and officials have acknowledged initially planning the execution of Dozier around drugs they could obtain.
Nevada has become a model among death penalty states that have had trouble in recent years obtaining drugs for lethal injections.
Fifteen states are siding with Nevada in the case before the state Supreme Court targeting pharmaceutical firms.
Nebraska and Tennessee are part of that effort.
A total of 31 states allow the death penalty.
Dozier, 47, called the fight over his fate a legal “maelstrom,” and lamented that he has no control over the outcome. The November postponement came over concern that a muscle paralytic drug could immobilize him to the point that witnesses would not see if he experienced unconstitutional pain or struggled against suffocation.
“It genuinely seems like there are other wheels within wheels going on,” Dozier said.
He said he wants to go through with his lethal injection and doesn’t care if he feels pain. Critics have said he’s seeking state-assisted suicide.
“I don’t even really want to die,” Dozier said, “but I’d rather die than spend my life in prison.”
The inmate said he was not contesting his convictions and sentences. But he also denied committing the 2002 drug-related murders in Phoenix and Las Vegas for which he was convicted and sentenced in 2007 to death.
“For the record, I’m asserting my innocence,” Dozier said. But, “I’m not going to be the guy in prison who is going to complain, ‘This is an injustice.’ That’s over. I had my chance.”