People v. Edgar Morales


AD1 order dated May 31, 2011, modifying judgment of conviction. Decision below: 86 AD3d 147. Smith, J., granted leave on October 27, 2011.

ISSUES PRESENTED: (1) Whether the Appellate Division was correct in concluding that the evidence was legally insufficient to establish that the crimes were committed with the "terrorist" intent to intimidate or coerce a "civilian population" as opposed to members of a rival gang (PL §490.25); (2) Whether the evidence was sufficient to support hte convictions as modified; (3) Other numerous claims.

Issue: Whether the crime of "terrorism," under Penal Law §490.25, which is committed when a person engages in a specified offense "with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population," encompasses activities by street-gang members committed for the purpose of coercing or intimidating adversaries.

Held: Because defendant’s street gang did not commit acts "with the conscious objective of intimidating" a civilian population, but only a limited subset of that population, and the definitional provisions of article 490 were targeted at international terrorism, evidence was insufficient to establish that defendant had engaged in act of terrorism.