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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues