Thursday, July 17, 2014

TOP STORY>>Area Defense Counsel: Airmen defending Airmen

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

If you found yourself in legal trouble without a lawyer, would you know where to turn?

The Office of the Area Defense Counsel at Little Rock Air Force Base is available to assist. The purpose of that office is to support and defend active-duty Airmen accused of a crime.

“We are here to help Airmen,” said Staff Sgt. Wesley Rogers, Little Rock AFB defense paralegal.

Rogers said that the seriousness or degree of the crime doesn’t matter because the job of the ADC is to defend their clients.

“We zealously advocate for our clients,” said Rogers. “Just because you’re accused of something, that doesn’t make you guilty.”

He also said the majority of their work includes advising Airmen on legal matters, working on Article 15 and Letters of Reprimand responses, or defending an Airman facing court-martial.

And though the ADC sounds identical to the legal office, they are not the same. The legal office represents the government and the ADC represents the accused.

“The legal office does the prosecuting,” said Rogers. “If you are accused of a crime, you need to come to us. We are different, and we do our work separately.”

If someone does get into legal trouble, the ADC is not mandatory. Airmen have a right to represent themselves or to seek counsel from civilian representation at their own expense.

“It’s important for you to get help,” said Rogers. “I know there is a stigma out there about public defenders, but we are here to help. We are confidential, with an off-base chain of command and have an open door policy.”

For more information, the ADC can be reached at (501) 987-3260, or located in building 1255 in room 201.

No comments: