Mario TrujilloCameron Parker
As a young child in Jalisco, Mexico, Ofelia Rodriguez was pulled out of third grade to support her family as a maid. Her desire to return to school remained unfulfilled, but she was determined to succeed in life.
Years later, as a divorced mother of three, Ofelia mustered the courage to leave her children with her parents and moved to the United States. Upon arrival in 1966, she worked as a live-in nanny in La Jolla, CA, where Mario Trujillo was born two years later. At the age of 9 months, Mario accompanied his mother back to Jalisco to be raised by his grandparents, along with his three siblings. Ofelia and her children legally immigrated to the United States in 1975.
An outspoken neighborhood advocate, organizer, and union shop steward, Ofelia served as a role model for young Mario. She taught her young boy the value of education. She emphasized that justice and true democracy require fierce, passionate advocates of civic engagement. These lessons fostered in Mario a desire to improve his own life and the lives of his family and fellow citizens. Ofelia’s influence motivated young Mario to focus on becoming an attorney one day.
Growing up in the San Francisco Mission District in the 80s, Mario received guidance and support from organizations like Kiwanis International and the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America—the same organizations in which he is active today. Following graduation from the highly regarded Lowell High School in San Francisco, he went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Chicano Studies from UC Berkeley. While there (1986-1990), Mario was active in MEChA, the Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, and was elected to student government. It was at Berkeley that Trujillo learned about the political and social justice movements that opened up opportunities for him. He learned to appreciate that whatever he achieved would come not just from his ability and hard work but also from the indelible impact made by all those who had fought for future generations before him.
From Teacher to Deputy District Attorney
Thirty years ago, Mario moved to Downey and taught elementary school in South Central Los Angeles (1990-1996). Through this experience, he learned the importance that community efforts play in the education of young minds. A teacher by day, Mario attended Southwestern University School of Law during the evening. Recognized as a Moot Court Honors student, he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1995 and became a member of the California State Bar in 1996.
On August 1, 1996, Mario became a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney. He has served as a prosecutor, primarily in the South East region of Los Angeles County, with assignments in the Whittier, Compton, Bellflower, and Norwalk courthouses. His last trial assignment was with the Hard-Core Gang Division, prosecuting many of the most difficult gang-related murder cases in the county.
During his first year in the division, Mario prosecuted more trials than any other attorney in the unit. He also served as a felony prosecutor in the Victim Impact Program, handling emotionally charged and sensitive felony cases. These cases involved the physical and sexual abuse of children as well as domestic violence cases. His experience as a trial attorney includes 115 jury trials – 85 felonies and 30 misdemeanors – including 22 murder cases. His 95% conviction rate is a testament to this hard work and dedication to justice.
From 2010 to 2012, he served as the Deputy in Charge of the District Attorney’s Bellflower office, managing day-to-day operations and supervising attorneys and support staff. Before serving as a supervisor for the office, he worked in administration, serving as a Special Assistant to the Directors of Branch and Area Operations. Mario is currently assigned to Los Angeles County Hall of Justice where he works directly with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon.
A Dedication to Service
Mario is a firm believer that there is no greater gift than helping those in need. He has been a board member since 2000 for the Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (LACADA). This agency provides mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment services to residents across the county. He is past president of the Downey Kiwanis Club and former Lieutenant Governor of Kiwanis Clubs Division 13. He served as a Downey Recreation and Community Services Commissioner, appointed by former Downey Mayor Blanca Pacheco. He is past president of the Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) and a past Associate Adjunct Instructor at Southwestern Law School. He served on the Gallatin Elementary School site council and has served as a board member for Community Lawyers Inc., the Downey Kiwanis Foundation, and the Downey YMCA. Mario is also a small business owner in Downey and has been a licensed California Real Estate Broker since 1998.
In his proudest role, Mario is an active father raising three children in Downey while teaching them the values of Character Counts and community involvement. He is determined to pass on to his children the values he learned from his mother: community is part of your extended family, the importance of respect, love of this city, and love for this country. Mario is married to his husband Henry Ceja Trujillo, a licensed Nurse Practitioner specializing in Psychiatry.
Awards, Recognitions and Community Service
- Access to Justice Award, Ferias Legales (2019)
- Board Member, Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (2000- Present)
- Board Chair, Community Lawyers Inc. (2012-2014)
- Attorney of the Year, Southeast District Bar Association (2011)
- Community Service Award, UC Berkeley Chicano-Latino Alumni Association (2011)
- President, California La Raza Lawyer’s Association (2011)
- Board Member HONOR Fund/HONOR PAC (2010 – 2020)
- Board Member Downey YMCA (2012)
- Downey Open Art Commission (appointed) (2011)
- President, Mexican American Bar Association (2009)
- Founding Board Member, Latino Prosecutor’s Association of Los Angeles County (2006-2010)
- Lieutenant Governor, Kiwanis Clubs, Division 13 (2009-2010)
- Associate Adjunct Instructor, Southwestern Law School (2005-2008)
Inter-Government Committees and Standing City Subcommittee Assignments for 2021
- California Contract Cities Association (CCCA)
- Civic Theatre Review Subcommittee
- Clean Power Alliance
- Gateway Cities Council of Governments (COG) I-710 EIR/EIRS Project Committee
- Independent Cities Risk Management Authority (ICRMA)
- League of California Cities, L.A. County Division
- Rio Hondo Golf Club Subcommittee
- Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) General Assembly & Regional Council District 25
- Veterans Subcommittee