Prosecutors defend search in Hurwitz drug-trafficking case


The attorney for the convicted Oregon murderer wants the drugs and cash seized during a traffic thrown out

An archive photo of Larry Hurwitz. (Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — California prosecutors are defending the legality of the police search that found cocaine and a large amount of cash in the car driven by convicted Oregon murder Larry Hurwitz.

Hurwitz was arrested and charged with drug-related crimes after a traffic stop in Huntington Beach on June 27, 2019. He is currently in jail in Orange County awaiting trial.

Hurwitz’s attorney William Weinberg has moved that the drugs, money and Hurwitz’s statements not be admitted as evidence, arguing that the search was unconstitutional. In a suppression motion filed on March 13, Weinberg argued to officer detained Hurwitz too long at the stop without probable cause, including the time it took for a drug-sniffing police dog to find 4.4 pounds of cocaine in a paper bag behind the driver’s seat.

“A dog sniff (prolongs the stop) beyond the time reasonably required to complete (the) mission of issuing a ticket for the traffic offense,” the motion reads.

But, in a March 27 opposing motion, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer argues that the search was legal. Among other things, the filing said Hurwitz aroused the suspicions of the traffic officer by acting extremely nervous during the stop and initially lying about not owning the $328,000 in cash.

“An investigatory detention is intended ‘to permit a speedy, focused investigation to confirm or dispel [the] individualized suspicion of criminal activity justifying it…But, when additional cause to detain develops after the initial stop, additional time to investigate is allowed,” the filing reads.

The Orange County Superior Court hearing the case has not yet set a date for the suppression and opposition motions to be argued. A pre-trial hearing was set for June 19 but then postpone to Sept. 16.

Hurwitz is currently on post-prison supervision release in Oregon after serving a 10-year sentence for the 1990 murder of Tim Moreau in Portland. Hurwitz is specifically prohibited from visiting California because that is where his victim’s family lives. Hurwitz had been sanctioned by Multnomah County authorities for other release violations before that.

Hurwitz owned the Starry Night rock club in 1990 when he murdered Moreau, his promotion manager, to cover up his own involvement in a counterfeit ticket scheme. Moreau had moved to Portland from New Orleans to attend Reed College before going to work for Hurwitz.

Hurwitz pleaded no contest to murdering Moreau in 1999 and then confirmed the overwhelming evidence against him to settle a civil wrongful death suit brought by his victim’s parents in 2001. Hurwitz also agreed to pay the Moreau’s $3 million for the death, but has only paid a small fraction of that since being released in 2008.

After being released from prison in Oregon in 2008, Hurwitz was repeatedly caught traveling out of state without permission by Multnomah County Parole and Probation officials, who are charged with supervising him. He has been placed on house arrest, required to wear a GPS monitoring device, and made to perform community service, according to post-release supervision records obtained by the Portland Tribune through a public records request.

Although Hurwitz was required to wear a GPS device as recently as December 2018, he was not wearing one when he was arrested in California.

Whenever Hurwitz is released in California, he is set to be transported to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, where the Oregon Board of Parole could sentence him to up to six months in jail for violating the terms of his release.

You can read both motions here.

You can read previous Portland Tribune stories on the cases at

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