Ivan Skorobogatov : Cravers Lose Appeal

The Cravaers were back on court this week . Both courts.  The results were as expected.

Wednesday morning, York County Common Pleas Court Judge John S Kennedy, who presided at their trial, denied separate appeals from the Cravers for retrials. The couple, who earlier escaped death penalty specs, was tried for murder, but convicted on lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of child endangerment, and conspiracy.  They appealed their case on the flimsy grounds that their convictions were “against the weight of the evidence.” The Cravers were charged in the death of their adoptive son Vanya  Skorobogatov  who died of severe beatings and malnutrition  in 2009. In their appeals, the couple argued that with their convictions and probations hanging over their heads, they can’t find work and have been forced to move in with friends.  Michael Craver is reportedly an Air Force veteran and an engineer by profession..

Thrown into the pot (which I’d not seen published  before) was the couple’s request that their court costs of nearly $100,000 be cut  half.

Some people just don’t’ know when to quit.when they’re ahead.

I disagreed with the flop to involuntary manslaughter and the wrist-slap sentence.  I thought Judge Kennedy equivocated when he said the verdict was appropriate and just.  But he stuck it to the Cravers this time.  It’s too bad there’s no online transcript.  .From the York Dispatch, Cravers’ manslaugahter convictions stand, judge won’t reduce $98K court costs,

Cravers’ former home where Vanya was killed

 Kennedy said he wished state law would allow him to order the Cravers to pay the costs of their defense as well. 

But because the Cravers were represented by public defenders and court-appointed counsel, they cannot be billed for defense fees, chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said. 

“The taxpayers of York County should be reimbursed” for defense costs, as well as prosecution costs, Kennedy said. He noted the Cravers have earning potential, unlike many other defendants who will never be able to pay off their court costs. 

Defense attorneys declined to say how much defense fees totaled, and that information is not available to the public. 

I’m surprised that the public defender costs aren’t public information.  They should be.  After all, the public paid the bill. Over 30 years ago I was part of a defense team in a successful  capital murder appeal in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Our costs were around $100,000 in 1978 money.  It should have twice that, but a good part of the work was  pro bono and the defendant went pro se.   The state’s cost was over $200,000 and came close to busting the county prosecutor’s bank account. Of course, if the Cravers had been able to hire their own lawyers the costs would have taken them on a trip to Mars, and they might have gotten a worse.deal. . They got off cheap and lucky and should be happy.

The Dispatch doesn’t mention what the Cravers plan to do now, but the next step, if they pursue it, would  be to take their appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Hours before the Cravers were in York County Common Pleas Court crying  innocent, and poor, the Moscow City Court was busy upholding an earlier ruling refusing to  issue an Interpol arrest warrant on the couple to haul them back to Moscow for a show trial.  The article which appears in different forms from RIA Novosti and  the Russian Legal Inforamtion Agency  (scroll down and hit link) is awkwardly translated in English, and leaves a big hole in the story.  According to both sources, though,  the court also dismissed an appeal filed by Vanya’s aunt. This is the first time we’ve heard of an aunt trying to bring charges.


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