Area Defense Counsel -- here for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anania Tekurio
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
During their career, Airmen may find themselves in situations when they need confidential legal advice, but may not know who or where to turn to for help.

Standing at-the-ready to make sure Airmen receive discreet and reliable legal defense services are members of the Ellsworth Area Defense Counsel.

"Established in 1974, the ADC is designed to preserve the fair running of any adverse action taken against an individual Airman," said Capt. Jeremy Mooney, Air Force Legal Operations Agency ADC member. "We are here to help Airmen, not their supervisors and commanders that are serving the disciplinary action. We are an independent agency and are in no way affiliated with the base legal office."

Mooney said that members of the ADC are responsible for representing active duty servicemembers 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 all types of counseling," Mooney noted.

He explained that the ADC is a beneficial service for Airmen for a number of different reasons.

"The ADC is not subject to the base level, numbered Air Force or MAJCOM command structure," Mooney said. "This allows the ADC to represent clients without fear of reprisal. Second, it reassures clients that the ADC is independent of their own chain of command."

Mooney said Airmen should also know that 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 verbal or written statement.

"Any statement that is made, whether it's oral or written, may be used against the member in a court martial, Article 15 nonjudicial punishment action or administrative action," Mooney emphasized. "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."

He added that the ADC is available to assist any Air Force member who has been accused, or even suspected, of committing a violation against the UCMJ, however there are certain areas such as personal civil legal matters, civilian criminal proceedings and items that fall within the purview of other base agencies where the ADC is not able to provide assistance in.

For more information on the ADC or the services they offer, call Mooney at (605) 385-2158.