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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.