Las Vegas Nevada

Attorneys seek to ensure Scott Dozier won’t be executed until 2018


December 5, 2017

A judge in Las Vegas kept a condemned prison inmate’s execution on hold Tuesday over concerns about a never-before-tried three-drug combination planned for use during Nevada‘s first execution in more than 11 years.

Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti also said Tuesday that she wants to see written filings before she decides several other key issues.

With the Nevada Supreme Court expected to review the case and decide if Scott Raymond Dozier’s execution should go forward, Togliatti took no immediate action on a request by state and local prosecutors to reverse her Nov. 14 order halting the execution, which had been planned the same day.

State attorney general’s office lawyers say they’re drafting an appeal to the state high court of Togliatti’s order that the state Department of Corrections must remove a disputed paralytic, cisatracurium, as the third drug in a protocol using high doses of the sedative diazepam and the potent opioid fentanyl.

“You could have proceeded. He could be dead today,” the judge told attorney general solicitor Jordan Smith on Wednesday, noting that he said the state would appeal instead.

The judge added that she felt Supreme Court review of the three-drug cocktail will be important if the state wants to use it in future executions.

Togliatti canceled a Dec. 7 hearing, and made it clear that Dozier will have to wait at least several months for the execution he has said repeatedly he wants carried out.

She set a Jan. 17 hearing on a bid from the attorney general and Clark County district attorney’s offices to proceed using just diazepam and fentanyl. A medical expert witness called by federal public defenders challenging the case said those two drugs should be enough to kill the inmate.

She also is being asked to decide if federal public defenders should continue to represent Dozier in a review of the state’s proposed execution protocol.

Dozier, appearing by videoconference from Ely State Prison, did not say he wanted attorneys David Anthony and Lori Teicher to stop representing him.

Togliatti barely contained exasperation over what she termed “manipulation of the court process,” and asked the inmate if a flurry of filings in recent days meant he was asking for a “do-over” of the lengthy proceedings that began in July and required almost daily action in the run-up to the scheduled execution date.

Dozier called the months of hearings that made his case a topic of national interest “vital,” noted that they led to revisions of the protocol, and said he feels now “like I had to take a less-than-ideal option because that was the only option available.”

Dozier, 47, has been on death row since 2007 for convictions in separate murders in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Jonathan VanBoskerck, a chief Clark County district attorney, has said that local prosecutors have an interest in seeing the penalty that Togliatti imposed 10 years ago carried out. He said Tuesday that other arguments are irrelevant since Dozier is not challenging his sentence or the process.

“The bottom line is it’s his choice,” VanBoskerck told the judge.

 

RELATED | Condemned inmate Scott Dozier complains of death penalty delay

 

Nevada Condemned Inmate Complains of Death Penalty Delay


November  21,2017

 

Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier appears in a Las Vegas court via video on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, days before his scheduled execution. From the state prison in Ely, where he is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, Dozier, 46, told Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti one last time that he wants his death sentence carried out. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) The Associated Press

 The Nevada death row inmate whose execution was postponed last week is complaining to a judge that he’s suffering what he calls an open-ended and unnecessary delay.

State prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast said Tuesday that Scott Raymond Dozier (DOH’-sher) was returned to suicide watch on Nov. 14, the day he had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at Ely State Prison.

Dozier turned 47 on Monday.

He has volunteered die, and would become the first person executed in Nevada since 2006.

Court documents show that he sent a Nov. 13 letter asking Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti to lift a stay of execution that she issued over concerns about the three-drug cocktail that prison officials want to use.

The matter is now destined for review by the Nevada Supreme Court.

 

Death penalty upheld for man in Las Vegas hammer killings – Thomas Richardson


November 14, 2012 http://www.lasvegassun.com

ARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, has upheld the murder conviction and death penalty sentence for Thomas Richardson in the hammer slaying and robbery of two people in Las Vegas.

Richardson and Robert Dehnart agreed in September 2005 to rob and murder Steve Folker, who was at the home of Estelle Feldman, also killed with hammer blows to the head, records show.

Dehnart, who was the 18-year old son of Richardson’s girlfriend, agreed to testify against Richardson as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to 20 to 50 years for first-degree murder and a consecutive 4 to 30 year term for robbery.

Chief Justice Michael Cherry dissented in the ruling, saying evidence against Richardson “was not overwhelming” and errors at trial required the conviction be overturned and a new trial ordered. Justice Nancy Saitta agreed with Cherry.

Richardson maintained he was in California at the time of the murders.

But the court’s majority opinion said the trial testimony of Dehnart “is sufficiently corroborated,” and substantial evidence supports the jury verdict.

The court said District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt was wrong in not permitting the defense in closing arguments to maintain Dehnart was lying to receive a lighter sentence.

But the court called it harmless error.

Cherry, in his dissent, said defense attorneys should have been allowed to argue that Richardson had returned to California before the time of the murder.

“As there was conflicting evidence of this crucial fact and no physical evidence placing Richardson in the home or even in the state at the time of the murders, (defense) counsel’s argument became much more vital to the defense,” Cherry wrote.

Cherry also wrote that evidence at the crime scene was mishandled, and a replica of the hammer used in the killing should not have been introduced at the trial.

Man sentenced to death for murder at Caesars Palace – Bryan Hall


November 9, 2012 http://www.ktnv.com

Las Vegas,  — Bryan Hall appeared in court Friday to find out if he could face the death penalty for killing a waiter at Caesars Palace.

Family and friends of the victim, Brad Flamm, gathered in the courtroom at the Regional Justice Center for the decision.

It was an emotional morning as both attorneys argued the pros and cons of the death penalty in the case.

Just a few hours later, the jury reached a verdict that Hall will face death as punishment for his conviction.

Hall was convicted of murdering Flamm earlier in the week.

Flamm’s family was visibly satisfied when the decision was read in court.

“We’re just glad justice is done. This guy won’t hurt anyone ever again,” said Flamm’s father, Fred. “He’s put away, and he’s not going to be with us anymore. Hopefully the sooner the better.” 

Hall and Flamm had been friends, but police said they got into an argument over a woman they both dated.

In May 2009, Flamm’s body was found by a loading dock outside Caesars Palace. He had been beaten and strangled.

Flamm’s mother said it was hard to see him in court, but harder to see him at the county jail, where she happens to work.

“But now he won’t be there,” Jennifer Flamm said. “I won’t have to go into work and worry about him being there.”

The Flamm family is happy to be able to now move forward, keeping Brad’s spirit alive.

“Brad lives on in our hearts,” Fred Flamm said. “We miss him, but he’s still there.”

Hall will return to court for a formal sentencing on January 17.