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Mary DeBoer

Porter County Superior Court Magistrate Mary DeBoer has been tapped to take over as Porter Circuit Court judge at the start of next year.

INDIANAPOLIS — Porter County Superior Court Magistrate Mary DeBoer said her heart was racing Wednesday when she picked up the telephone and it was Gov. Eric Holcomb announcing he had chosen her to take over as Porter Circuit Court judge at the start of next year.

DeBoer will be replacing long-time Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper, who is retiring at the year's end.

"I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the governor for having the faith in my qualifications and commitment to this position to select me from this group of very qualified applicants to be the next Porter County Circuit Court judge," she said.

"I am equally thankful to his staff, my colleagues, my friends and family for supporting me every step of the way," DeBoer said. "This judgeship is what I have been working toward my entire career."

The three other applicants seeking the appointment were Christopher Buckley, Dianna Mejia and Mitchell Peters, according to the governor's office.

Harper told The Times in August that she would be stepping down after 35 years in office. She is the longest-serving female judge in the state, and just about the first female everything in Porter County's legal system.

Harper said she is intentionally leaving with a year to go on her term to allow her successor time to learn the job while running for the post.

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"When someone as experienced, qualified and devoted as Mary Harper passes you the baton to the court she worked so tirelessly to elevate, the pressure is on to do her and the office justice," DeBoer said. "The best way to do that is to continue serving the people and attorneys of Porter County by being a fair, efficient and respectful jurist."

"Judge Harper and Judge Roger Bradford have been my mentors for the past eight years during my time as a magistrate judge," she said. "I have been so fortunate to have benefitted from their 75 years of combined experience."

"Not only does the Circuit Court Judge handle complex civil and criminal matters in the courthouse downtown, but she also oversees the entire Juvenile Detention Center, Juvenile Court and Juvenile Probation Department," DeBoer said.

DeBoer has served as magistrate since 2011, according to the governor's office. She has also served as a deputy prosecutor in Starke and Porter counties, and had been in private practice.

DeBoer earned her undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University and her law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law, the governor's office said.

Her swearing-in date has yet to be determined.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.