California Supreme Court Judge Cuellar comes home to Imperial Valley


Locally home grown and now an associate justice of the Supreme Court of California Mariano-Florentino Cuellar paid the Imperial Valley a visit.

He met with the Imperial County Suprior Court judges for lunch before he headed to his alma mater Calexico High School.

“I remember being in high school here and walking down the streets of Calexico coming up to El Centro for all kinds of reasons having mock trial team competitions up in the Superior Court here.  It feels wonderful,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar says participating in mock trial is what launched his journey in the justice system.

Governor Brown nominated Cuellar be the associate judge of the California Supreme Court last year.

“It did help to be on the mock trial team because then you have the experience of what does it feel like to represent someone or to represent the government or to try and figure out who’s guilty and who’s not guilty, how to follow the rules.

He told judges his happiest memories were in Calexico and he owes a lot of his success to his teachers in Calexico.

I feel very lucky so many people have been helpful to me including incredible teachers I have had here Mr. Orduna, Mr. Thornberg, Mrs. Henderson.  Wonderful teachers that set you on the right path.

Cuellar’s message to the graduates include remembering where they came from and giving back to their community.

“They’re going to be growing up in a world that’s amazing full of possibility, full of challenges, full of problems that haven’t been solved, but if they have spark in them, they can go and change the world in their own way,” Cuellar said.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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