Petra Jimenez Maes is a native of New Mexico. She worked her way through UNM undergraduate and UNM Law School. When she graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1973, she was one of the first two Hispanic Women to graduate from UNM Law School. She was admitted to the New Mexico Bar that same year. She was in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico until 1975 when she went to work for Northern New Mexico Legal Services.
In 1981 she was appointed to the First Judicial District Court by Governor Bruce King. Her Judicial assignments in the District Court included: four years in the Criminal Division; six years in the Family Division; and seven years in the Civil Division. In addition to her other case assignments, Judge Maes served as the Children's Court Judge for twelve years.
Judge Maes was elected by the Judges of the First Judicial District Court as Chief Judge for two terms. As Chief Judge she also had the administrative responsibilities for the District Court. In addition, Judge Maes served as president of the New Mexico District Judges' Association in 1992. She also served on the Chief Judges' Council, the Code of Judicial Conduct Committee, and the National Center on Women & Family Law.
During her seventeen years as district judge, Judge Maes was innovative, implementing procedures and programs needed to improve the quality of justice for the litigants, attorneys and the public in her District. In 1984 she established the Family Court and served as the Family Court Judge for 6 years. She implemented mediation in divorce cases helping parents resolve custody issues in the best interest of the children.
Justice Maes understands the complex issues raised by juvenile crime. Justice Maes has worked on positive programs for young people. She also served on the Governor's Task Force on Children, Youth and Families, the North Central Juvenile Services Committee, the Tri-County Gang Task Force, the Santa Fe County Jail Advisory Committee, and the Character Counts in Santa Fe Leadership Council. With her children, she has participated in the boy and girl scout programs.
Justice Maes was elected to the Supreme Court in November 1998 and assumed her position on December 11, 1998.
Justice Maes was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 5, 1947. Justice Maes' life experience includes raising four children as a single parent after her husband's death in 1983. Her children are now ages 19 to 26. She is also a proud grandmother. Her granddaughter is eight-years-old.