ILNews

Leadership in Law 2013: Eric D. Schmadeke

Deputy prosecutor, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Indianapolis University of Dayton School of Law

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eric-schmadeke02-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

While prosecution is often a thankless job with no real winners in the end, Eric D. Schmadeke has committed himself to work tirelessly and zealously as a deputy prosecutor for more than six years. He’s prosecuted more than 60 major felony cases, with a success rate of more than 90 percent. Eric partnered with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General on the Conference of Western Attorneys General Alliance Partnership, where he trained Mexican judges, prosecutors, investigators and forensic scientists. He’s also partnered with the Western Regional Child Advocacy Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, to prepare medical and legal teams for child abuse court cases. Eric has volunteered as a guardian ad litem and court-appointed special advocate.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
It has been estimated that for every $7 spent on non-working adults, the federal budget allocates $1 for children. I would like to see that change in my lifetime.

What’s the most important thing your mentor has taught you?
There is not a case worth winning or bad guy worth taking down at the expense of your honor, integrity and reputation.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Snow ski tester – Vail, Colorado.

Numerous TV shows center around lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic?
A TV show (even the closest to reality) about a criminal jury trial (which most of them are) is like taking the eight most dramatic five-minute segments from a 200-plus-hour documentary. You get to watch all the fun, but not everything you do to get there. And whereas Jack McCoy gets to focus all of his energy on one rape, murder or molest at a time, right now I have 41 open and active.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
The ones that took attendance. But seriously … Professor Jegen’s Income Tax. You had to be test-ready every day in preparation for his barrage. I loved that challenge.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
I would be standing behind Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre waiting to snatch that little J.W.B. and toss him over the balcony (it only broke his leg). “Sic Semper Interfector,” I would say. He stole the three-and-a-half years our country had left with Lincoln. I want it back.

In life or law, what bugs you?
It bugs me that the great deputy prosecuting attorneys – the John Keiffners, the Steve Owenses, the Janna Skeltons, and the scores of others – here, and around the state – aren’t often recognized in the legal community for being top-notch lawyers in their own right. Also, you know when windshield wipers leave streaks worse than the raindrops? Ugh. That is the worst!

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
Objection. Calls for speculation.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I really didn’t read comic books, so my known options are limited. I guess to be able to always write my thoughts on paper as they are in my mind or Jedi mind-tricks to speed my way through motions hearings?

What do you find scary?
I have phobophobia. I’m frightened of being afraid.

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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