A potentially terrifying precedent was set in a New York court this week. Viewing child pornography, without downloading or storing it, does not constitute ‘possession’ and therefore is not a crime. You can view and sign the petition which is directed at the judge who made the decision at:
[i]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.
Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges. The court dismissed one of the 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 judge decided that this is voyeurism, but not child pornography.
“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.”
Kent had a folder on his computer that stored about 13,000 saved images of girls whom investigators estimated to be 8 or 9 years old.