Another Nevada inmate asks to give up death penalty appeals
LAS VEGAS — A death-row inmate is restarting a fight over the death penalty and the drugs the state would use for a lethal injection by telling authorities he wants to give up his appeals and become the first person executed since 2006.
Two months after Scott Raymond Dozier killed himself awaiting lethal injection, twice-convicted murderer Kevin James Lisle said in a handwritten note that he has “complete and competent understanding” that waiving his appeals means he’ll be put to death.
Lisle’s request made public Monday by the attorney general’s office in a state Supreme Court case is expected to be heard in federal court.
Documents filed Friday in that case say Lisle’s trial in the 1994 killing of a 19-year-old was rife with legal errors, his death sentence was improperly applied and the state’s ability to carry out a lethal injection is in doubt after prison officials were blocked by courts from executing Dozier.
Lisle’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Department of Corrections statement acknowledged Lisle’s request.
Dozier, 48, killed himself in January in his cell at Ely State Prison. The twice-convicted murderer gave up his appeals and volunteered to die but his lethal injection was cancelled twice by legal challenges.
The first delay was over a plan to use a three-drug combination never before used in the U.S. Drug companies then sued to block their products from being used.
A pharmaceutical company challenge is pending before the state Supreme Court, where state attorneys cited Lisle’s letter and argued the case needs to be decided because Nevada should be allowed to “fulfill its legal duty to enforce capital punishment statutes.”
Attorney General Aaron Ford opposes the death penalty but in a statement said he is constitutionally required to defend state law. Nevada requires executions to be by lethal injection and is one of several states that have had trouble obtaining drugs because of court challenges from pharmaceutical firms when they do get them.
Two Democratic state lawmakers have introduced legislation to ban capital punishment.
Nevada has 77 people on death row. No one has been executed in 13 years.
The state Supreme Court has been asked to decide if the state improperly obtained the sedative midazolam from drug company Alvogen and the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl from Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA.
“So long as Nevada law provides for capital punishment, there is a likelihood that similar issues as presented in this case will arise in the future,” chief deputy Attorney General Randall Gilmer said in the Monday court filing informing justices of Lisle’s note.
Courts in other states “consider the issues presented here both important and likely to occur again,” Gilmer added.
Lisle, 48, was convicted of two killings, both in 1994.
Scott Coffee, a veteran deputy public defender who opposes capital punishment, Lisle will likely be summoned to court to attest that he wrote the letter and wants to die. Coffee had criticized Dozier’s case as a bid for state-assisted suicide.
“Any time you have someone who says ‘I just want to give up and die,’ you can expect an inquiry about his competency,” Coffee said.