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Crime & Courts

NY's top court says NYC street gang member not 'homegrown terrorist' under post-Sept. 11 law

New York's highest court says street gangsters that commit assaults and murders are not terrorists under the statute enacted after hijackers crashed jets into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The Court of Appeals says there's no indication New York lawmakers enacted the measure to elevate gang-on-gang street violence to the status of terrorism, which carries tougher penalties.

Ruling unanimously Tuesday, the court ordered a new trial for Edgar Morales, a member of the St. James Boys gang. He was convicted of fatally shooting a 10-year-old bystander and paralyzing a rival gang member at a christening party.

Bronx prosecutors say the gang sought to intimidate the neighborhood's entire Mexican-American community.

The court says there was insufficient proof of that, and prosecutors' terrorism theory probably prejudiced the jury.

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