RENO, Nev. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada has launched a petition to persuade the governor to stop the state’s first execution in more than a decade — one that would be conducted with a drug mixture not used before.
Scott Dozier, 46, is scheduled to die by lethal ejection Nov. 14 for a 2002 murder.
Attorneys from the federal public defender’s office have been challenging the newly drawn-up protocol for Dozier’s lethal injection and another hearing is scheduled Friday in Las Vegas.
The ACLU has called it an “experimental execution” because the blend of drugs has never been used anywhere else in the country. The group posted a petition online this week seeking signatures on a letter asking Gov. Brian Sandoval to intervene.
Sandoval has said that Dozier wants to be put to death and he doesn’t have any authority to stop the proceedings.
The ACLU says there’s a “very real” chance that a botched execution could result in an unconstitutionally torturous and inhumane death. It says paralytic drugs like the one that would be used in the mixture to kill Dozier can’t even be used to euthanize animals in Nevada.
The Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty also has started a letter-writing campaign urging people to appeal directly to Sandoval, according to president Nancy Hart. She told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the state shouldn’t use death row inmates as “guinea pigs.”
The last execution in Nevada was in 2006. State law requires all executions to be done by lethal injection, but a shortage of the drugs used traditionally has slowed executions nationwide.
Holly Wellborn, ACLU of Nevada’s policy director, said the case will set a precedent for everyone on Nevada’s death row.
“This case will affect more than Mr. Dozier,” Wellborn said. “This is about Nevada resuming a practice that we have basically deserted for 11 years. … We’re dealing with a drug cocktail that has never been used anywhere in the country.”
Dozier has waived his right to appeal his death sentence for the killing and dismemberment of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller.
In 2002, Miller’s torso was found in a suitcase, which was thrown into a trash bin at an apartment complex.
His head, arms and legs were never found. During the investigation, police learned of another victim, who was also dismembered and buried in the desert in Arizona. Dozier was also found guilty of second-degree murder in that case.
The Nevada Department of Corrections announced in August that it would use fentanyl, diazepam and cisatracurium to execute Dozier.
The Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners is the only entity that can commute a death sentence, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“Notably, this execution is proceeding at Mr. Dozier’s request,” Sandoval said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Mari St. Martin. “It would be inappropriate for the governor to weigh in while it’s under legal review.”
The execution will be held at the Ely State Prison about 60 miles (96 kilometers) from the Utah line.