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

ACLU condemns state’s proposed lethal injection plan for Zane Floyd
(Photo: Nevada Department of Corrections)

By Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
This story was originally published by Nevada Current

CARSON CITY–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.”