The Nevada Department of Corrections announced yesterday that it will carry out the execution of Scott Dozier on Nov. 14, 2017 using an untested, experimental drug combination that has never before been used in an execution by lethal injection. The Department of Corrections will use diazepam, a sedative, fentanyl, an opioid, and cistracirium, a paralytic agent, but has not provided any additional information about the doses or the sequence of administration. 


The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada vigorously opposes the use of the Department of Corrections’ new experimental execution drugs. 


“This experimental combination of drugs has never been used for lethal injection in any state, and it must be reviewed by the court to ensure it complies with all state and federal laws. Although we don’t know much about this untested drug combination, it is very concerning that a paralytic is included, which could lead to conscious suffering and suffocation. Use of these drugs could result in a botched execution, leading to torture or a lingering death in violation of the protections of the United States Constitution.” ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story said. 


The previously acquired lethal injection drugs have expired, and after an exhaustive search, the Department of Corrections has been unable to re-obtain these drugs.


Little is known about how the Department’s execution protocol, including the doses of the drugs, the order of drug administration, the source of the drugs and verification of their efficacy and purity, whether qualified medical professionals will be present during the execution, and any other safeguards put in place to insure the execution is carried out humanely. 


“Nevada law provides absolutely no guidance on how an execution must be carried out, except for the sole fact that it must be inflicted by an injection of a legal drug. Nevadans should be troubled that the legislature has abdicated its duty to prevent the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. We are concerned that the Department of Corrections has unfettered discretion to experiment with inmates’ civil rights.” ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Amy Rose said. 


The ACLU of Nevada is committed to preventing the state from conducting experiments on inmates using a new, untested, and dubious execution scheme and is currently examining our legal options.