You've seen our photos. You've read the posters, "the Area Defense Counsel works for you, not the command." But who are we? And what do we do?
As you might have guessed, we are an active duty attorney and paralegal. But unlike the legal professionals at the legal office, we don't work for the command. The Area Defense Counsel (or ADC) was established in 1976 to provide defense services independent from the base legal office. That means that we represent our clients, not the Air Force.
In 1983, Maj. Gen. Thomas Bruton, then The Judge Advocate General of the Air Force, put it this way: "It is not the job of the defense counsel to assist or make it easy for the government to establish or present its case. To the contrary, the independent defense structure pioneered by the Air Force was in part established to enable defense counsel to freely make those many difficult and sometimes challenging decisions without fear of command interference or reprisal."
So that's who we are, but what do we do?
We represent active duty members in actions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), at courts-martial and nonjudicial punishment actions (commonly known as Article 15). We also represent clients in a variety of other actions, including administrative discharges, referral performance reports, and administrative demotions. Keep in mind that we can assist while the command is still investigating, before any action is taken against you.
Remember, under military law, an Air Force member suspected of committing a criminal offense has the right to remain silent and the right to consult with a military lawyer free of charge prior to making a statement to anyone. This includes your Shirt and Commander. Additionally, any statement that is made, whether verbal or written, may be used against the member in a court-martial, Article 15, nonjudicial punishment action, or administrative action. The fact that a member exercises either the right to remain silent or the right to consult with an attorney cannot be held against the member by Air Force authorities.
If you find yourself in need of our services or have any questions at all, do not hesitate to visit our office or give us a call. We are located in Building 1267 (south side) or we can be contacted at DSN 777-2940 or commercial at (801) 777-2940.