The fourth of six children, Larry D. Morse II was born and raised in Lancaster, California in the Mojave Desert. His father was an attorney and Los Angeles County Municipal Court Judge. A 1975 graduate of Quartz Hill High School, Morse attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, earning a Bachelor's degree in Journalism in 1979. Following his graduation, he worked as a newspaper reporter for the Arkansas Democrat (now Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) in Little Rock where among his assignments were interviews with Bill Clinton, Watergate Prosecutor Leon Jaworski and coverage of the second landing of the Space Shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base. In Washington, D.C. he worked as Press Secretary/Legislative Aide for Congressman Bob Whittaker of Kansas.
Morse attended the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, earning his law degree in 1987. While in law school, Morse served as editor of Senior Spectrum Newspapers and later in the California Legislature as Communications Director for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Following graduation, Morse continued in the Legislature as Legislative Director for the late state Senator Milton Marks of San Francisco until joining the Merced County District Attorney's office in 1993. He was appointed Chief Deputy in 1998.
He has successfully prosecuted nearly 20 murder cases, including two death penalty cases. The most recent was the 2007 conviction of Tao Rivera for the murder of Merced Police Officer Stephan Gray, the first Merced officer killed in the line of duty. In 2010 he obtained a murder conviction in a ten-year old, cold case homicide. As a Chief Deputy, Morse assisted former District Attorney Gordon Spencer in the successful prosecution of two major consumer fraud cases. One case involved the world's largest computer monitor manufacturers and resulted in Merced County schools receiving computers worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the second case, against a national retail pharmacy chain, the county received nearly a million dollars in civil penalties. He has been named Prosecutor of the Year by A Woman's Place of Merced County and the Central Valley Arson Investigators’ Association.
Morse served on the original UC Merced Committee, was a founding board member of the Merced Boys and Girls Club, and a member of the board of directors of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce and Merced Community Action Network, and Morse served as co-chair of the successful Measure S campaign for Merced City Schools. He is Co-founder of Merced County Project 10%, a dropout prevention program which coordinates presentations by UC Merced students to every middle school in Merced County to emphasize the importance of high school graduation. He has coached Merced Youth Football, Basketball and Baseball. He is a member of Elks Lodge 1240, the Sportsman Club in Los Banos and, since 1996, a member of E Clampus Vitus.
He was elected District Attorney in June 2006, and took office just over a month later. In 2011 he was elected to the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) Board of Directors. He was re-elected to another term in June 2012. He serves as co-chair of the CDAA's Legislation Committee. Larry and his wife, Cindy, a family law attorney, are the parents of three sons.