Area Defense Counsel moves to new location
By Capt. Aaron Maness, Area Defense Counsel
/ Published October 27, 2009
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
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 active duty attorneys and paralegals. 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, at courts-martial and non-judicial punishment actions. We also represent clients in a variety of other actions, including administrative discharges, referral performance reports, and letters of reprimand. 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 any statement. Additionally, any statement that is made, whether oral 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.
The Office of the Area Defense Counsel is committed to providing quality services to the Airmen of Whiteman Air Force Base. In keeping with this commitment, the Area Defense Counsel recently moved from the Bomb Wing building to a larger and improved office, located near the bowling alley where the Demand Drug Reduction was previously located: 702 8th Street, Building 604.