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PHOENIX -- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wants a court to force the Justice Department to act on his request to fast-track federal death penalty appeals in Arizona cases.

Horne filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Monday. The planned suit will ask the court to review the Justice Department's decision to delay acting on Horne's request.

The state asked the Justice Department to allow it to participate in a program that brings quicker action on appeals. The department responded last month by saying it was still working on rules for the program and would consider Arizona's request when the rules are completed.

Death penalty cases in the western U.S. now take nearly 20 years for the appeals process to be exhausted.

Associated Press,

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