W. Michael Mayock

Michael Mayock, known as Mike Mayock, passed away on December 27, 2021, at the age of 77, in Pasadena, Calif. He was well known for his warm spirit, vibrant storytelling and huge, incandescent smile.

He was born in Yuba City, Calif., on April 27, 1944. He attended St. Cyril of Jerusalem School and went on to graduate from Notre Dame High School in 1962 in the San Fernando Valley. When both his parents were diagnosed with cancer, he transferred from the University of California, Berkeley, to USC, graduating in 1967. Mike received his law degree from Loyola Law School in 1972, acting as articles editor on the Loyola Law Review, all while working full-time at the Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles and supporting his parents until they passed. He was later appointed law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge David W. Williams, the first Black federal judge west of the Mississippi.

After earning his law degree, with a strong desire to become a seasoned trial attorney, he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Criminal Division under U.S. Attorney William D. Keller, where he tried numerous jury trials. After finishing his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he opened a private practice in Century City, where he began his work as a criminal defense attorney, often representing defendants who he had previously prosecuted as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Mike practiced primarily in the area of criminal defense and appellate work in more than 20 states and outside the country, ultimately acting as defense counsel in well over 100 jury trials. He went on to win cases both in en banc argument in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mike was subsequently interviewed by television journalist Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes” to explain the significance of his Supreme Court victory regarding Fourth Amendment rights.

In what became his proudest work, he served as a member of the Federal Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Attorney Panel for the U.S. Government, providing countless hours of legal work for the poor and indigent to provide them with the best legal representation he thought they deserved but could not afford. He treated them with the dignity that he felt the justice system did not provide them and thereby, no matter the outcome of their case, won their lifelong respect and friendship.

A longtime resident of South Pasadena, he was deeply involved in community work. Mike was well known as a youth soccer referee, coach and commissioner, always wearing knee high socks and carrying a big pile of orange practice cones. He gave many hours to working with children and supporting the local schools, including serving as president of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation.

Far from a serious person, with a ready joke and a story to tell, Mike had a warmth that made people feel comfortable right away. He was also wholly unafraid to be silly. He once won the use of a gorilla suit in a local raffle, and wore it playfully around the house and to his children’s school.

Mike was a third generation California lawyer, grandson of Welburn Franklin Mayock and son of Welburn Stoney Mayock. He was the brother of Karen Mayock Lefton of Palo Alto, Calif., and Brian Mayock (deceased) of San Jose. He was the loving husband of Lupita Tello Mayock, devoted father of Matthew and Lisa Mayock, and fun-loving grandfather of Lucien and Pascal Halmos.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Heart Association.