New York State’s highest court on Tuesday ruled that the Bronx district attorney’s office erred in trying to use a state terrorism charge to prosecute street gangs.
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The decision by the Court of Appeals overturned the 2007 conviction of Edgar Morales, an admitted Bronx gang member, in a 2002 shooting at a church christening party that killed a 10-year-old girl and paralyzed another victim.
The office of Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, had argued that Mr. Morales’s gang, the St. James Boys, met the somewhat vague definition of “terror” in the state statute because it sought to intimidate or coerce the entire Mexican-American population around St. James Park ...