On July 11, the state of Nevada will execute death-row prisoner Scott Dozier. To do so, the state has decided to use an experimental protocol that incorporates a drug — Midazolam — that has been associated with multiple botched executions across the United States. Allowing the government to execute a person using a protocol that risks torture would be a grave injustice. Nevadans must demand better.
The road to this upcoming execution has been a tumultuous one.
The state previously planned to execute Dozier in November of 2017 using an untested and unusual three-drug cocktail comprised of Diazepam, a sedative; Fentanyl, a narcotic; and Cisatracurium, a paralytic. Although Dozier volunteered for execution, he still recognized the state’s independent responsibility to act in a constitutional manner and brought a motion to determine the lawfulness of using a paralytic in his execution. Dozier argued that use of a paralytic needlessly risked inflicting death by suffocation, with physical abuse akin to waterboarding.
The Nevada trial court agreed. It found that the use of a paralytic would carry a substantial and “objectively intolerable risk of harm” to Dozier in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution to be free of cruel and unusual punishment and corresponding rights under Article 1, Section 6 of the Nevada Constitution.