ADC: An unbiased influence to justice

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
In the event trouble attaches itself to an Airman; the Area Defense Counsel is available to provide confidential  counsel. Whether the Airman is under investigation, facing an Article 15, letter of reprimand or other adverse actions, the ADC is available.

The ADC is organizationally independent and reports directly to the Trial Defense Division through Headquarters U.S. Air Force Trial Judiciary, Western Circuit, Washington. It was set in place to eliminate the stigma that defense counsels were biased for the accused's chain of command.

"The reason our chain of command is in Washington, D.C., is so we can be completely dedicated to our clients," said Tech Sgt. Caroline Martin, the Nellis ADC paralegal. "The separate chain of command keeps us from being influenced about representing somebody that commanders are taking action against. We call it undue influence."

The main role of the ADC is to assist active duty members who are facing disciplinary or other adverse action from military authorities.

"Our legal services are restricted to the realm of defense," said Martin. "The base legal offices at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases offer other types of civil legal services. They can actually give legal advice if someone has questions about landlord-tenant issues, custody or divorce."

Similar to civilian law, attorney-client privilege is afforded to Airmen in their discussions with ADCs and defense paralegals. Information given within the ADC office by a military member seeking advice is held in strict confidence unless disclosed as part of the defense during the trial with the permission of the client.

"We can't even say if someone came here," said Capt. David Fox, one of two ADC attorneys at Nellis. "If a person just stopped by to meet with one of us about something, even if it never materializes or becomes an issue, we can't even say that they were here."

The ADC encourages everybody, regardless of how small the action, to swing by the office and at least sit down and take the opportunity to talk with them, said Martin.

"We're a free [legal] service on base," Fox said. "If an Airman thinks something is going on with them, whether it is a military perspective or off-base perspective, and they don't really know where to go, we are a really good starting point."

For more information about the Nellis Area Defense Counsel, call 702-652-4034, email ADC@nellis.af.mil or visit them at 4349 Duffer Dr. building 625, room 361.