Gang Legal Definition In New York

What constitutes a "gang" ? "A person is guilty of gang assault in the first degree when, with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person and when aided by two or more other persons actually present, he causes serious physical injury to such person or to a third person." (Penal Law 120.07). Gang assault crimes were enacted in 1996 as part of a two-crime package because gang assaults "pose a greater threat to public safety than assaults committed by individual actors" and are particularly harrowing crimes which are "not only terrifying to victims but tends to increase the likelihood that severe or lethal injuries will be inflicted." (Senate Mem in Support, 1996 McKinney's Session Laws of NY, at 2582.) It is clear to this court that the sole legislative intent was to stop the spread of "gang violence" by enhancing the penalty for assaults committed by gang members. A traditional interpretation of the term "gang" is "a group of persons working to unlawful or antisocial ends, especially a band of antisocial adolescents." (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 10th ed.) The phrase under Penal Law 120.07, "two or more other persons actually present," was taken from the definition of robbery in the second degree under Penal Law 160.10 (1), "another person actually present." (See, Donnino, Practice Commentary, McKinney's Cons Laws of NY, Book 39, Penal Law art 120, at 123-124.)