Undercurrent

ACLU condemns state’s proposed lethal injection plan for Zane Floyd

By: - June 11, 2021 5:50 pm

An undated photo of Zane Floyd. (Photo: Nevada Department of Corrections)

The Nevada Department of Corrections’ plan to use a never-before-tried combination of drugs to kill Zane Floyd, in what would be the state’s first execution in 15 years, was blasted by the ACLU of Nevada on Friday.

An undated photo of Zane Floyd. (Photo: Nevada Department of Corrections)

In a statement, Jen Shomshor, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU, said the “vagaries about which drugs may or may not be used make it impossible for Nevadans to verify whether the planned execution will be lawful.”

The proposed combination of drugs to be used during lethal injection includes fentanyl, ketamine and potassium chloride, according to an execution manual released by the state Thursday.

“It’s completely unacceptable that we’re talking about using a human being as a guinea pig just because we have a district attorney that’s eager to kill someone and a governor who refuses to take action to end our state’s broken capital punishment system,” Shomshor said. “Taking a person’s life is the most extreme form of punishment our government can impose, and it’s not a time to be cagey about the details. The community has the right to know precise details about the state’s plans to kill one of its citizens.”

The execution is slated for late July, pending legal intervention. 

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson started pushing for the execution of Floyd around the same time lawmakers were discussing Assembly Bill 395, which would have abolished the death penalty. Floyd was convicted for killing four people at a Las Vegas supermarket in 1999.

Organizers and civil rights attorneys have called the timing suspicious and some argued it was an attempt by Wolfson to stifle further discussion. Wolfson has said the timing was coincidental.

After passing out of the Assembly on a partyline vote — the furthest efforts to abolish capital punishment have advanced in Nevada — the bill stalled in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro’s job as a prosecutor at the Clark County District Attorney’s office left many activists and legal groups wondering how her full-time job might have influenced the bill’s fate

Senate Judiciary Chair Melanie Scheible, also a prosecutor in the Clark County District Attorney’s office, didn’t give a hearing despite expressing support to end the death penalty months earlier. 

A day before a committee deadline, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced via press release there was “no path forward.”

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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