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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 111535
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am a merchant marine working on a military sea lift command

Customer Question

I am a merchant marine working on a military sea lift command vessel on foreign articales. I am the victim of a assualt crime. The trial date is set before I am done with my contractual obligation. Am I protected under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The defendant is using his right to a speedy trial as leverage to get the case thrown out. Also I have not found any information about victims of a crime being protected under this act. It actually says the act does not pertain to criminal proceedings. The captian on the ship is pretty confident I am covered. He says they will have no choice but to continue the trial date until my return. I am not allowed to leave the vessel under foriegn articales. I am subpenaed to court and could face a warrent if I do not appeaer. Any included referenced sections or CFR'S, pertaining to my question wouñd be much appreciated.
Thank you.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You say this criminal proceeding is in WA, which is the state you indicated above. Under WA Criminal Rule 3.3 a speedy trial must be granted within 60 days, which may be continued by the court as required "in the administration of justice." In the case of WA v. Hill, 71645-0-I (WA App. 2014), the WA Appeals Court held that the court was well within its discretion to continue the criminal matter where the victim was unavailable to to military service and being out of the state and that the continuance did not violate the defendant's speedy trial rights.
It is up to the prosecutor to file a motion to continue the case on the basis that you cannot come into town for trial, so you need to contact the prosecutor, as the Civil Relief Act does not apply in criminal proceedings even for victims and the Captain is right that it can be continued, but his reasoning is wrong if he is relying on the Relief Act.

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