Viewing child porn on the Web ‘legal’ in New York, state appeals court finds (News)

Posted on January 16, 2013, in Children, Internet, Pornography Laws

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By M. Alex Johnson, msnbc.com

May 8, 2012

Find original article here: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/08/11602955-viewing-child-porn-on-the-web-legal-in-new-york-state-appeals-court-finds#.T6qApmWs3a8.email

Viewing child pornography online isn’t a crime, the New York Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in the case of a college professor whose work computer was found to have stored more than a hundred illegal images in its Web cache.

The court dismissed one of the two counts of promoting a sexual performance of a child and one of the dozens of counts of possession of child pornography on which James D. Kent was convicted. The court upheld the other counts against Kent, an assistant professor of public administration at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Kent — who said at his sentencing that he “abhorred” child pornography and argued that someone else at Marist must have placed the images on his computer — was sentenced to one to three years in state prison in August 2009.

The decision rests on whether accessing and viewing something on the Internet is the same as possessing it, and whether possessing it means you had to procure it. In essence, the court said no to the first question and yes to the second.

“Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law,” Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges.

“Rather, some affirmative act is required (printing, saving, downloading, etc.) to show that defendant in fact exercised dominion and control over the images that were on his screen,” Ciparick wrote. “To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct — viewing — that our Legislature has not deemed criminal.”

In other words, “the purposeful viewing of child pornography on the internet is now legal in New York,” Judge Victoria A. Graffeo wrote in one of two concurring opinions that agreed with the result but not with the majority’s reasoning.

Find original article here: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/08/11602955-viewing-child-porn-on-the-web-legal-in-new-york-state-appeals-court-finds#.T6qApmWs3a8.email

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