A Nevada judge has halted an execution because a drug company objected to the use of its drug in the killing.

The case is something of a replay of the case in Arkansas where Judge Wendell Griffen found for McKesson, a drug distributor, that wanted drugs back from the state that had been obtained by dishonest means for an execution. The Supreme Court reversed Griffen and took him off death cases because he’d participated in anti-death penalty demobstrations the day of his ruling. Judge Alice Gray later made the same ruling on the same set of facts.


The matter remains controversial. Griffen sued the Supreme Court for violation of 1st Amendment speech and religious freedom. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the case dismissed. Dueling ethics complaint are still being considered against Griffen and the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, the case lends some further support to Griffen’s side of the core issue.


Alvogen says it doesn’t want its product used in “botched” executions. It said in court documents that Nevada prison officials illegally obtained the sedative midazolam and demanded that it be returned and not used in Dozier’s execution.

“Midazolam is not approved for use in such an application,” the document said, adding uses of midazolam in other states “have been extremely controversial and have led to widespread concern that prisoners have been exposed to cruel and unusual treatment.”

Midazolam was substituted in May for expired Nevada prison stocks of diazepam, a similar sedative commonly known as Valium.

Midazolam is part of the protocol in Arkansas, but its other drugs vary somewhat from Nevada’s death “cocktail.”