After three years marked by numerous controversial court cases, Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira announced Saturday he will seek a second term in office.
Madeira cited surveys showing a 95 percent victim approval rating as the basis for his job satisfaction and the reason he chose to run again.
"I'm running for district attorney again because I love the job," Madeira said. "There's nothing so satisfying as having a victim look at you in the eyes and thank you."
Though victims have shown satisfaction, the district attorney's office has had a mixed track record during Madeira's tenure, including an overturned murder conviction and several cases involving Penn State football players whose charges were dropped or downgraded.
In a case prosecuted by Madeira in 2007, a jury found State College man Andrew Rogers guilty of the bludgeoning death of Penn State student Youngcheol Park. It was a victory for Madeira at the time, his first murder conviction as Centre County district attorney.
But Rogers maintained a third man, known as "Sweet," instigated the fight. He was granted a new trial in December when Judge Bradley Lunsford ruled the district attorney's office suppressed evidence that Park's watch was bought from a man fitting the description of "Sweet."
But it was the prosecution of Penn State football players that has defined much of Madeira's reputation as district attorney.
After six months of maintaining former Penn State running back Austin Scott had raped a Penn State student, the district attorney's office dropped rape charges in April 2008 when a higher court ruled prior allegations of rape made by Scott's accuser were admissible in court.
Defense attorney John Karoly suggested the charges would not have been brought against Scott if he weren't a member of Penn State's football team.
The case drew parallels to that of former Penn State and current Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Scott Paxson, who was charged in 2006 after police said he had sex with a Penn State student without her consent.
Lunsford threw out the player's felony sexual assault charges because there was no evidence the woman involved said "no" before having sex with Paxson. The player's father later said Madeira mishandled the prosecution.
Paxson later accepted plea bargain for a summary count of disorderly conduct.
Then came the prosecutions of players police said started a fight outside a fraternity party in the HUB-Robeson Center. Former Penn State defensive tackle Chris Baker and current Nittany Lion linebacker Navorro Bowman had charges of aggravated assault dropped in December 2007 because definitive eye witness testimony could not prove either player had assaulted a man during the fight.
Baker and Bowman both later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses.
To his detractors, Madeira said criticism of the district attorney's office often comes from "people who don't understand the system" and do not have all the facts.
"Against everyone of those dissatisfied people I can put up nine or 10 satisfied people," Madeira said. "I can point to victim after victim after victim. ... That's the kind of message that the public really needs to know about."
Madeira pointed out sometimes cases are just difficult to prove, and "you can't expect to win all of them." But he has won all of the cases he prosecuted, he said, mostly notably the 2007 murder convictions of former Penn State football player LaVon Chisley and Josephy Ventura.
In the district attorney's office most recent time in the news, Assistant District Attorney Lance Marshall resigned from his position in December under accusations he sent inappropriate text messages to a victim in a case he was prosecuting.
Madeira said those who look at the Marshall incident as a reflection of Madeira are ignoring the fact he took action -- Marshall no longer works for the district attorney's office, he said.
Madeira said no one else has indicated to him they will be challenging him for the position, but "in politics, you take nothing for granted."
When asked about the potential of running for district attorney, local attorney Anthony De Boef said he will make an announcement later this week about his decision.