9th Circuit Court once again rules in favor of Fairbanks Four

The 'Fairbanks Four' saw their charges vacated after new evidence came to light. (KTVF...
The 'Fairbanks Four' saw their charges vacated after new evidence came to light. (KTVF Archives) (KTVF)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 4:13 PM AKDT
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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the City of Fairbanks's request for the full court to rule on whether the ‘Fairbanks Four’ can sue the city.

George Frese, Marvin Roberts, Eugene Vent and Kevin Pease were arrested in the 1997 death of Fairbanks teen John Hartman. The four, known as the Fairbanks Four were convicted of the murder but the State vacated the conviction in 2015 after new evidence came to light. As part of the deal to drop the charges, the state stipulated that they could not sue for wrongful conviction.

The group filed a lawsuit against the city to allow them to sue for wrongful conviction. In January a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Fairbanks Four ruling that they could sue the City.

The City filed a petition to have the case heard by the full 9th Circuit. On June 26, the court denied their petition in a split ruling.

The city said in a statement that they are reviewing their options.

"With the decision just coming down on Friday, the City will need time to review it and consider all of the options available to us," said Teal Soden with the mayors office in a text message.

We reached out to the attorneys for the 'Fairbanks Four' but have yet to hear back.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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