NY's top court: NYC gang member not a terrorist

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — 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.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.