(Jan. 20, 1894-Feb. 12, 1973). Born in Wabash, Indiana, Asa Smith graduated from DePauw University in 1915 and came to Indianapolis to study law at Indiana Law School. He graduated and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1917. After serving in World War I, he worked as secretary to U.S. Senator Harry S. New from 1919 to 1921. Smith was a state representative in the General Assembly in 1923, leading a successful battle for a law giving the State Board of Accounts the authority to inspect the completed projects of public contractors.

As the Oberholtzer family attorney, Smith was also called to the deathbed of Madge Oberholtzer to take her statements that led to the conviction of Ku Klux Klan leader David Curtis (D. C.) Stephenson for her murder in 1925. He then represented Indianapolis Water Company customers in a successful 1928 petition to the Public Service Commission to require the utility company rather than the customer to pay for the installation of water meters.

Following service as lieutenant colonel in the Marines during World War II, Smith was appointed United States commissioner of the Federal District Court of Southern Indiana (1947-1950) and later was special master to that court (1950-1954). Appointed in 1954 as chief deputy by the Marion County Prosecutor, Smith conducted the preliminary investigations of the State Highway Department that led to the 1957 scandal and trial in which 10 people were convicted of bribery and related charges.

Revised February 2021

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