Misdemeanor Defense Attorney Orange County

Brian Gurwitz - Attorney Profile

Phone: 714.880.8800

1422 Edinger Avenue
Suite 100
Tustin, California 92780

Brian Gurwitz – Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney

Brian Gurwitz graduated cum laude from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and then received his law degree with distinction from University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. In law school, he served as an editor of the school's law review and worked as a legal extern in the chambers of United States District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr.

Following law school, Mr. Gurwitz worked as a prosecutor in the Orange County District Attorney's office for thirteen years. As a Senior Deputy District Attorney, he played a key role in many of Orange County's highest-profile cases, including:

Former OC Prosecutor

People v. Haidl:
Gregory Haidl (son of former Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl) and two of his friends were charged with gang rape after they videotaped themselves sexually assaulting an intoxicated girl on a pool table in the Assistant Sheriff's Corona del Mar home. The defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison.

People v. Jaramillo:
George Jaramillo — the former Chief of Staff to Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona — was convicted of perjury and theft of public funds following a lengthy public corruption probe. Jaramillo was sentenced to a year in jail.

People v. Cavallo:
Joseph Cavallo was a well-known Orange County criminal defense attorney who was convicted of multiple felonies following an investigation that showed he was paying illegal referral fees to bail bond agents in exchange for new clients.

Grand jury investigation of John Chamberlain's jailhouse murder:
John Chamberlain was in custody at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange when numerous fellow inmates beat him to death during a group assault that may have lasted for 30 minutes or more. Inmates alleged that the beating was instigated by a sheriff's deputy who "outed" Chamberlain as a child molester. While this was never conclusively proved or disproved, the evidence showed that deputies were watching a televised baseball game from their glass control tower just yards away when the murder took place. A lengthy grand jury investigation revealed numerous violations of law and policy by members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

People v. Hambarian:
This case, one of the lengthiest and most complex prosecutions in Orange County history, involved a multi-million dollar government fraud scheme perpetrated by Jeffrey Hambarian, whose family owned a company that provided garbage collection services in the City of Orange. Hambarian was convicted of 47 felonies and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

People v. Kline:
Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kline was arrested for possessing a large stash of child pornography. The news of his arrest led a citizen to report that Kline molested him many years before, when the victim was a teenager. Federal prosecutors convicted Kline of possessing child pornography, and he was sentenced to federal prison. The state prosecution for child molestation was dismissed when the United States Supreme Court ruled that a statute under which Kline was charged violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.

People v. Alcala:
Rodney Alcala was twice convicted and sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of a 12-year-old girl, Robin Samsoe, who was kidnapped in Huntington Beach. Appellate courts reversed his convictions both times. Recently, DNA evidence linked Alcala to four additional murders in Los Angeles County committed during the same time period. As a prosecutor working on Alcala’s third case, Brian successfully asked the California Supreme Court to grant review of a lower court’s ruling that required Alcala to be tried in different counties for these murders. The Supreme Court agreed with Brian’s argument that a single trial in Orange County for all five homicides was permissible.

Mr. Gurwitz's other accomplishments during his tenure as a Senior Deputy District Attorney include the following:

  • Tried 50 felony and misdemeanor cases to judges and juries, and conducted 40 juvenile court trials.
  • Served as the Assistant Head of Court for the office’s largest trial unit, which encompassed 20 attorneys and approximately 1,000 felony cases.
  • Successfully argued four cases before the California Supreme Court on issues including DUI / drunk driving law, the Three Strikes law, the street gang sentence enhancement, and prosecutorial conflict of interest.
  • Handled dozens of cases before the Court of Appeal, including 11 that were certified for publication.
  • Testified before both houses of the California Legislature concerning several criminal justice measures.
  • Lectured at statewide seminars conducted by the California District Attorneys Association.
  • Authored training publications used by prosecutors statewide.
  • Served as a sentencing law consultant to the California Law Revision Commission.
  • Participated in numerous media discussions of California's Three Strikes law, including interviews on National Public Radio, KFI AM 640's John and Ken Show, and Bill Handel's Morning Show.

After leaving the District Attorney's office, and before opening his own Orange County criminal defense practice, Mr. Gurwitz litigated civil cases at one of the nation's most prestigious law firms, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, on behalf of Fortune 500 corporations including financial institutions and energy companies. He was then hired as regional counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), where he provided legal guidance on all of the RIAA's music piracy investigations in the Western half of the United States.