Area Defense Counsel defends Airmen's rights

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Judith Mask
  • Area Defense Counsel
The mission of the area defense counsel is to protect your individual rights, ensuring independent and aggressive representation of Air Force members facing disciplinary actions.

We are located on Edwards as a tenant unit, completely independent from the Edwards legal office. We report directly to the Air Force Legal Operations Agency, putting us outside the Edwards chain of command.

This separation allows us to work independently and without command influence. It allows complete confidentiality with our clients, permitting open communication lines between the client and the attorney. The ADC cannot disclose to anyone information provided by the client without the client's consent.

The assistance of the ADC is a free service provided to Air Force members facing any number of administrative or judicial actions. Some of those actions include courts-martial, Uniform Code of Military Justice rights advisement, administrative discharges and non-judicial punishment proceedings. It also includes letters of counseling and reprimand, mental health evaluations, unfavorable information files and control rosters. The ADC also provide services such as officer and enlisted performance report referrals, promotion propriety actions, selective re-enlistment issues, reports of survey and line of duty determinations.

The ADC cannot represent a military member in civilian court proceedings. However, the area defense counsel can provide advice on what effect a civilian conviction can have on the member's military career.

One of the most important rights afforded a military member is their right to not incriminate themselves under Article 31 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Article 31 states that a military member cannot be forced to answer questions or make statements, oral or written, that would incriminate them. A military member has the right to consult with military counsel prior to answering questions or making statements.

For more information, call 277-2809 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.