Active Military Witnesses/Complainants in Criminal Cases:

BlackFive carries a report of an alleged anti-military hate crime (vandalism). I can't speak to the facts, having seen just this one account; but I am curious about one legal question: When a complainant in a criminal case — or some other kind of witness, in a criminal or civil case — is about to become unavailable because he is being recalled to active duty, how does the legal system treat the matter?

I know that there are some protections offered to active duty military in some situations; I expect these protections must have their limits, for instance because in some situations the Speedy Trial Clause may preclude delay in a criminal case. But I don't know much about the details, and I'd love to hear what our lawyer readers have to say.

So if you know, please post your comments. Also, please keep the comments limited to those that speak about how the legal system treats this question. If you have general thoughts about this incident, or thoughts about how the legal system should treat this question, please post them here. I'd like this thread to just be a repository for answers to this legal question (and perhaps disagreements with those answers), since I take it that some readers will find such a discussion of the actual state of the law to be especially interesting or even useful.

Note, incidentally, that I label this incident an alleged hate crime because, if the facts are as alleged, it is a hate crime, and because that's a clear quick way of describing the matter. I am not urging any specially heightened penalties for such crimes, nor to my knowledge is the complainant.

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