Part I of this Note details the background of the New York antiterrorism statute. It explains the relevant legislative history, as well as the structure and wording of the statute. Part II explores the controversial application of the New York antiterrorism statute to a gang member in the Bronx, setting out the arguments for and against its application, made by the Bronx District Attorney's Office and Morales, respectively.
Part III argues that the statute was inappropriately applied against a New York City gang member, an application which was permissible due to vague terms within the statute. By clarifying certain vague terms, such as "civilian population," and including other limiting phrases, the New York legislature could avoid similar misapplications in the future. Specifically, this Note recommends a new standard for defining an act of terrorism: political terrorism, in which the act of terrorism must be politically motivated and international in scope. This political terrorism standard will effectively exclude all local criminals, specifically gang members.
Lastly, Part IV recommends that the New York legislature create gang statues that address the prevalence of gang violence in New York State. The surprising lack of gang statutes available to law enforcement officials has encouraged prosecutors to attempt to remedy the situation by using several different statutes, including New York's antiterrorism statute.