At least three Nevada execution personnel backed out of participating in Zane Floyd’s (pictured, right) execution after a U.S. district judge asked about their education and training. The personnel, including a doctor and two emergency medical technicians, declined to participate after U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II asked the state to provide him with their credential information. Another doctor was excluded by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) after the agency learned of “additional information,” according to NDOC’s deputy director of operations William Gittere. “NDOC no longer has an attending physician or EMTs willing to participate in the execution,” he stated.

On January 26, 2022, Boulware ordered NDOC to provide him with information about the “education, training, [and] professional experience” of execution personnel set to participate in Floyd’s scheduled execution. The information was to be reviewed initially by Boulware and would be redacted as necessary before being shared with Floyd’s attorneys. When the department sought the information from execution personnel, at least three backed out due to concerns about anonymity. Gittere stated in a court filing that “[p]roviding information such as specialty or education would be identifiable factors in the small community of Ely, Nevada,” where the execution is set to take place. “I will continue to attempt to locate qualified individuals,” he stated.

Floyd’s attorneys, federal public defenders Brad Levenson and David Anthony, argued that NDOC unnecessarily disclosed information about the location of execution personnel in its public filings and failed to seek information about the “basic qualifications” of execution personnel without court prompting. In court documents, the attorneys stated: “This litigation has been pending for almost a year, and NDOC has insisted upon expedited resolution of this matter so it can perform the execution before the end of February. Yet NDOC only made an inquiry regarding the qualifications of the individuals one month beforehand, and only in response to this Court’s order for that information.”

At a subsequent hearing on February 3, 2022, Boulware said he was “committed to maintaining the confidentiality” of the personnel, but because the NDOC’s protocol was so vague, he needs additional information, like how the personnel would handle complications that might arise with the state’s untested lethal-injection drug combination. “I did expect that the NDOC would have that information and they would maintain that information,” he explained.

The lack of execution personnel is the latest in a series of roadblocks, including an expiring set of execution drugs, to the state’s attempts to execute Floyd. Nevada has not carried out an execution since 2006, and in June 2021 announced its intent to execute Floyd with an untested lethal-injection protocol that calls for either a three- or four-drug execution, using six possible drugs. Ketamine is the second drug in both protocol options, but the state’s supply of the drug expires on February 28, 2022. The drug’s manufacturer has sent a cease-and-desist letter to NDOC, stating that the department illegally acquired its ketamine supply.

Floyd also has cases pending in the Nevada Supreme Court, including petitions about which judge can issue an execution order and where an execution can take place. Clark County Deputy District Attorney Alex Chen called these petitions “an improper appeal,” yet indicated that his office would wait until the state’s supreme court issued guidance to seek Floyd’s death warrant. For Floyd to be executed by the February 28 expiration of the state’s ketamine, state law requires that a judge must issue a death warrant by February 13.

“It’s theoretically possible but highly unlikely” that Floyd will be executed on February 28, Chen said during a hearing on February 3, 2022.


Ken Ritter, Doctors, EMTs pull out of con­sid­er­a­tion for Nevada exe­cu­tion, Associated Press, February 1, 2022; Katelyn Newburg, Execution of quadru­ple mur­der­er pos­si­ble but high­ly unlike­ly’, Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 3, 2022; Sean Golonka, Zane Floyd exe­cu­tion high­ly unlike­ly’ before key drug expires Feb. 28, Nevada Independent, February 32022.