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Justices Maes and Daniels to retire from Supreme Court

NM Supreme Court Justice Petra Maes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Petra Maes – the first Hispanic woman to enroll at law school at the University of New Mexico and first in the nation to serve as a state justice – will be leaving the court at the end of the year.

She, along with Justice Charles Daniels, did not submit the required paperwork to seek retention by Thursday’s deadline.

Daniels announced his retirement in early 2017. But Maes’ non-filing serves as a de facto retirement announcement.

Maes, now 70, has served on the court since 1998. Before that, she was a judge on the 1st Judicial District Court for 17 years and before that a private attorney.

She raised four children as a single mother following the death of her husband in a car crash in 1983. She told the Journal in 2012 that while she is praised for her successful – and trailblazing – law career, “I like to think of myself as a successful mom, and that I have some real amazing kids.”

NM Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels

Daniels, 75, has been on the court since 2007. He made his retirement announcement during a presentation to the Legislature in 2017. Before he joined the court, he spent nearly 40 years as a private attorney.

The two positions will become vacant when Maes and Daniels leave at the end of the year as their eight-year term expires. That means the state’s next governor will fill the posts from a list of recommended candidates provided by the state Judicial Nominating Commission.