A Nevada judge halted the execution of a convicted murderer hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday because of objections by the company that makes one of the drugs.
Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer says that some of the seven justices are in Chicago for a Nevada State Bar Association meeting, but that the court could meet by teleconference.
Unlike Texas, which has carried out more executions than any other state, Nevada does not have a compounding pharmacy to get its drugs.
The state had not yet appealed by midday.
Dozier has attempted suicide in the past and has said repeatedly that he prefers execution to life behind bars.
Nevada plans to carry out the first execution using fentanyl, a drug at the heart of the USA opioid epidemic, on Wednesday.
Drugmaker Alvogen filed a lawsuit that went before a judge Wednesday seeking to prevent its sedative midazolam from being used in a lethal injection for twice-convicted killer Scott Raymond Dozier.
Brooke Santina, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections, told CNN that it has been advised not to comment on the lawsuit.
Alvogen, in a statement after the hearing, said it was pleased Gonzalez granted a temporary restraining order blocking the use of midazolam in the execution, which was scheduled for Wednesday night. Gonzalez also set a status check in the case for September.
The company points to what it called "botched" executions in other parts of the country where their drug has been used. They want the use of its drugs in the execution to be judged illegal.
Sandoz, another pharmaceutical company, also intervened in the suit brought by Alvogen, formally objecting to its medicines being used in this specific execution.
A third company, Pfizer, a year ago demanded Nevada return the third drug intended for use in the execution, the powerful opioid fentanyl. The state refused, however.
The sedative is meant to render the inmate unconscious before he is administered the synthetic opioid fentanyl and then paralytic agent cisatracurium.
Alvogen said the state illegitimately obtained the drug through a third-party distributor.
"This whole action is just PR damage control", Smith said.
Midazolam, the drug at the centre of the court case that could again postpone Dozier's' death, was substituted in May because prison stocks of Valium had run out.
"I've been very clear about my desire to be executed ... even if suffering is inevitable", he said in a handwritten note to a judge who postponed his execution in November over concerns the untried drug regimen could leave him suffocating, conscious and unable to move.
In a twist, Dozier himself has argued for his own execution over the past year, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Life in prison isn't a life".
Bice said Alvogen does not take a position on the death penalty itself but opposes the use of the drug in a way that is fundamentally contrary to its objective - saving and improving lives. Her ruling: "The state is restrained and enjoined from using midazolam".
"Life in prison isn't a life", the 47-year-old told the Review-Journal.
There was a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters past year, according to ABC News in the US.
Dozier was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Jeremiah Miller, who was killed and dismembered in 2002. A Nevada court found him guilty of shooting Miller in the head, draining his body of blood in a bathtub, cutting him into pieces and discarding his remains in an effort to steal $12,000 in a supposed drug deal. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase in an apartment building trash bin, also missing lower legs and hands. A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break the victim's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container.
He did, however, let federal public defenders challenge the execution protocol drawn up previous year by state medical and prison officials.
Nevada corrections officials revised their lethal injection protocol last week, saying they were switching to midazolam to replace expired prison supplies of another sedative, diazepam.