New Yorkers, who have regarded the vast swath of America beyond the Hudson River with disdain for its lack of sophistication and its middle-class morality, can rest assured they are far too cultured for the rest of the country: the New York Court of Appeals has ruled viewing child pornography online is not a crime. Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, writing the majority decision, stated: “Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law.”
New York law asserts that viewing Web images of child pornography does not by itself constitute either possession or procurement, and so the Court ruled that viewing was a lawful act:
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. To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct—viewing—that our Legislature has not deemed criminal.
The case was brought to the court after James D. Kent, a Marist College professor, brought his computer in to be fixed, complaining it ran too slowly, and the computer was found to have more than 100 images of child pornography. Kent argued that he had not viewed the porn himself. Emails found in Kent’s computer said he had collected images as part of a potential research project on the regulation of child pornography.
In 2010, Andrew Cuomo, then the Attorney General of New York, joined Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites to track and remove illegal images using Internet hash values. Now Cuomo is the governor, and his own state court, ironically, is permitting his constituents to look at the very material that Cuomo railed against. The elitist constituents who put Cuomo in office now can crow about New York’s sophistication while indulging their sophisticated appetites –watching kiddie porn.