Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Debra Harris, a deputy public defender from Victorville, to the Superior Court of San Bernardino.

“I am looking forward to becoming a member of the bench and bringing all of the experience I have, and willingness to contribute,” Harris said in a phone interview.

Harris, 56, has worked for the San Bernardino public defenders office since 1994 and is currently the chief deputy public defender. Harris brings more than 18 years of experience with the federal government.

The Governor announced last week that Harris was one of 11 judges appointed to the bench.

Harris said she was one of many judges to apply to the Governors office to be added to the bench of San Bernardino County. Harris applied in June, and was ranked based on her credentials.

Harris will earn $178,789 a year in her new position.

“Over the years, I established a lot of relationships, friends and colleagues,” Harris said. “I will miss them.”

Harris had goals of attaining an MBA, but decided to go to law school. She attended Western State College of Law.

Harris, will replace Judge Bert Swift who recently retired.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at