FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – A federal judge heard arguments on if a lawsuit should proceed against Fairbanks and a group of former police officers in their handling of a case that resulted in four men spending nearly two decades in prison before their convictions were overturned.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports attorneys representing the city and former Fairbanks officers argued Wednesday for the dismissal of the wrongful imprisonment suit.

George Frese, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts and Eugene Vent were convicted of second-degree murder but maintained their innocence in the 1997 killing of 15-year-old John Hartman.

Their convictions were vacated in December 2015 after they reached a settlement with the state, agreeing not to sue government entities.

They claim that agreement is not legally binding because they were coerced due to their imprisonment.

Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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