Nevada officials have filed an emergency request with the state Supreme Court seeking to block a lower court’s decision to release the identity of the attending physician scheduled to oversee the delayed execution of Scott Raymond Dozier.
In an emergency motion filed Wednesday, the attorney general’s office, representing the Nevada Department of Corrections, is seeking to block a Tuesday decision by District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. The judge said the state must reveal the name of the physician set to oversee Dozier’s execution to attorneys representing one of the drug manufacturers whose product will be used in the execution.
Although Gonzalez’s order would limit disclosure of the physician’s identity to the attorneys for drug manufacturer Alvogen, the state wrote in its emergency request that the attending physician would only oversee the execution “to the extent their anonymity is protected from disclosure” and that even a limited disclosure of individuals involved in the execution wasn’t relevant and would limit the state’s ability to carry out the execution.
“The drug manufacturers should not be permitted to go on a fishing expedition for information that can be used to harass individuals who assist the State in carrying out lawful executions,” attorneys with the state wrote in the filing. “The intended effect is to scare people away from assisting the State. This tactic is well-documented and, unfortunately, has been effective in stopping executions.”
The state’s brief also claimed that disclosing the identity would “jeopardize the safety of the physician” and could lead to “physical threats and danger to their lives and livelihood.”
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Alvogen attorney Todd Bice requested the identify of the attending physician to ensure that the person is actually a licensed physician.
The emergency motion also included a request for the state’s highest court to block inquiries into the background science of the lethal injection protocol and creation and the state’s supply of other drugs, calling that information “not remotely relevant” to Alvogen’s claims in the suit.
Attorneys for the state also stated that an emergency order was necessary because of scheduled depositions for Thursday and Friday and a scheduled evidentiary hearing next week, where information including the identity of the attending physician could be revealed.
Dozier, who was sentenced to death following his conviction for the murder of Jeremiah Miller, has voluntarily given up his appeals and volunteered to die. But the 47-year-old’s scheduled execution has twice been delayed by outside parties; most recently via an eleventh-hour legal challenge by Alvogen, which sought and received an emergency hold on the state using one of its products in the execution just hours before Dozier’s scheduled July 11 execution.
State officials have said in earlier filings that one of the three drugs planned for use in Dozier’s execution will expire at the end of November, meaning the execution could be further delayed barring a quick resolution to Alvogen’s legal challenge.
The Nevada Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the state’s original appeal of the District Court decision blocking use of Alvgoen-manufactured sedative midazolam in the execution on September 21.