ACLU: ‘Stonewalling… secrecy’ surround first NV execution in 12 years

    Update: The Nevada Department of Corrections issued a press release listing the lethal injection drugs it will be using, which includes midazolam, fentanyl and cisatracurium.

    Days before Nevada’s first execution in 12 years, the ACLU of Nevada is challenging the Nevada Department of Corrections’ transparency regarding the drugs being used.

    “The Nevada Department of Corrections has abandoned even basic principles of transparency and opted for misinformation, stonewalling and extreme secrecy instead,” says Amy Rose, the group’s legal director. “It’s dangerous for our state to undertake its first execution in 12 years under these conditions. Without transparency and accountability, we are very concerned about the legality of the protocol and the possibility of a botched execution.”

    Brooke Santina, the public information officer with the department of corrections, says they are expected to release the protocols July 3.  

    Scott Dozier, who has been on death row since 2007, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection July 11.

    After repeated request to be put to death, he was initially scheduled to be executed Nov. 14, using a three-drug cocktail: the sedative diazepam, a pain medication fentanyl and a paralytic cisatracurium.

    The 47-year-old’s execution had been argued before the Nevada Supreme Court in May before getting the go-ahead despite uncertainty of the drug combination being used for the execution.

    “We know the state said the diazepam was set to expire in May and the cisatracurium was going to begin to expire sometime this month,” says Wesley Juhl, the communications manager with the ACLU. “We honestly don’t know what they will be using.”

    According to the suit filed, the ACLU is accusing the department of “unlawfully refusing to release to the ACLU of Nevada time-sensitive public records pertaining to NDOC’s lethal injection drugs and procedures.”

    The organization submitted a public records request June 15 – and followed up on June 22 and June 25 – trying to determine the names of the drugs, the quantities being administered and the purchase orders to find out where they were acquired from.

    “It’s important to know (the drugs) came from a trusted supplier and were obtained legally,” Juhl adds.

    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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