New ADC on board, ready to serve

  • Published
  • By Capt. Clinton Eubanks
  • Area Defense Counsel
I'm Capt. Clinton G. Eubanks, the new Area Defense Counsel for Malmstrom Air Force Base. As some of you may know, I am not new to Malmstrom as I spent the last two years as an assistant staff judge advocate at the Base Legal Office. I am not alone at the ADC office, indeed I am fortunate to work with Tech. Sgt. Aaron R. Holmes, the defense paralegal. Our office is located in Building 145, Room 210, which is accessible from the northeast corner of the building. 

Most of us are familiar with the services military members, family members and retirees can receive from the base legal Office - you can file a claim for damaged household goods, receive a power of attorney, get a notary, etc. However, the base legal office cannot give confidentiality and legal representation to Airmen under investigation or during questioning regarding a Uniformed Code of Military Justice or other criminal offense - for that, Airmen need an ADC, and the Air Force has taken steps to ensure the independence of ADCs. 

Before the ADC concept began in the Air Force, many people claimed that since the lawyers representing the accused in courts-martial were appointed by the convening authority (usually the wing or numbered Air Force commander) and both the prosecution and defense lawyers were rated by the same individual, the defense counsel would not feel free to give a vigorous defense. The Air Force responded to this perception of possible "command influence" in 1974 when the defense function began to report directly to The Judge Advocate General. In addition, ADC offices were set up apart from the office of the base staff judge advocate and defense paralegals were assigned. 

Moreover, the chain of command for an ADC was completely separated from that of other attorneys on base. In fact, it is completely separate from anyone else on base, officer or enlisted. All ADCs now belong to the Air Force Legal Operations Agency, which is located in Washington, D.C. Their OPRs are written by a senior defense counsel and endorsed off base. They are expected and encouraged to advocate vigorously on behalf of their clients to commanders. ADCs are also governed by the Rules of Professional Responsibility, which dictate zealous representation of clients. For these reasons, you can be certain that ADCs represent their clients to the best of their abilities in matters within the ADC charter. 

These matters include representing active-duty Airmen in UCMJ proceedings (courts-martial and non-judicial punishment under Article 15), adverse administrative actions, and other adverse actions in which counsel for an individual is required or authorized, including administrative discharge actions, reports of survey, line of duty determinations and demotion actions. Also, active-duty Airmen have a limited entitlement to military legal counsel for such actions as letters of counseling, letters of reprimand, denials of re-enlistment, OPR/EPR problems, and other issues. If at the conclusion of an interview, an ADC determines a client needs to be referred to another service organization, he will normally do so. 

Remember, Sergeant Holmes and I work in complete independence and autonomy under the Air Force Legal Operations Agency in Washington, D.C. If you believe you need the assistance of an ADC, please call us at 731-4723 or after hours through Command Post at 731-3801. Additionally, our office is in Building 145, Room 210. The office hours are Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.