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      Court to decide if convicted NY gang member is also a terrorist under the law

      Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, New York passed a law making it a crime to intimidate a civilian population through violence.

      Now the state's highest court will consider whether the street gangsters who crashed a Bronx christening party, starting a fight that left a 10-year-old bystander dead, are also terrorists who deserve longer prison time.

      The question is whether Edgar Morales, a member of the St. James Boys convicted of the 2002 shooting, intended to intimidate the community or just send a message to rival gangsters.

      A trial judge allowed the terrorism charges, and Morales was convicted and got 40 years to life in prison.

      A midlevel court disagreed, ordering a shorter sentence, setting up Tuesday's first examination of the statute by the state's highest court.