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Supreme Court

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(from left to right) Justice Barbara J. Vigil, Justice Petra Jimenez Maes, Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura, Justice Charles W. Daniels, Justice Gary L. Clingman

Justice Petra Jimenez Maes




Petra Jimenez Maes was elected to the New Mexico Supreme Court in November 1998 becoming the first Hispana  to serve on the court.  She was designated by  her colleagues to serve as Chief Justice twice: 2003 - 2005 and 2012 - 2014.   While other Latino/Hispanic men have served as Chief Justice, she ushered in a new era as the first Hispanic Woman Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. She is currently the Senior Justice.


Justice Maes’s efforts to improve the justice system include currently serving as the Supreme Court Liaison on the New Mexico Commission on Access to Justice; the Children’s Court Improvement Commission, which is a comprehensive effort to assess and improve judicial proceedings related to child abuse and neglect, juvenile justice, foster care, and adoption; and on JIFFY, the New Mexico Supreme Court Committee that oversees automation for the entire judiciary.


Justice Maes  received a B.A. from the University of New Mexico and a J.D. from UNM Law School.  She was in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico until 1975 when she went to work for Northern New Mexico Legal Services.  She was appointed to the First Judicial District Court in 1981 where she served for seventeen years.


Of the many awards and recognitions she has received, Justice Maes is the recipient of the 2012 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association's Commission for Racial and Ethnic Diversity recognizing her efforts to promote racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. Justice Maes served on the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Board was established in June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.


Justice Maes was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Her  life experience includes raising four children as a single parent after her husband’s death in 1983.   She is also a proud grandmother of four granddaughters and one grandson.  

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