Palacio received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Arizona, attended Catholic University of America Law School and did graduate studies at both Bucknell and Arizona State universities. He is a National Urban Fellow.
He is active in the civic community as a member of the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. He currently serves as the Board Secretary for Community Housing Resources Inc., which provides affordable housing opportunities for developmentally disabled adults. He is also a former member of the Santa Ana Host Lions and North Santa Ana Rotary.
Palacio, who is self employed as a Consultant, has resided in Santa Ana for nearly 30 years with his wife, Sonia. Their two sons, Johnny II and Steven, attended SAUSD schools and Santa Ana College.