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New York Court Rules Viewing Child Pornography Online Not a Crime

The New York State Court of Appeals, the Empire State’s top court, ruled Tuesday that a person who views but never downloads child pornography is neither guilty of criminal possession of underage porn nor procurement.

The ruling stems from the case of James Kent, 65, who was a professor of public administration at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, before getting caught with files on his computer that suggested he had been viewing underage pornography, according to the Daily News. Kent was convicted at trial of both procurement and possession, so he took his case all the way up the court of last resort – and won…sort of.

The Court clarified the state law criminalizing the download or possession of kiddy porn, but declined to exonerate Kent. They held that Kent’s case was different because he actually downloaded the files he was viewing to his hard drive. Only the temporary internet files saved in Kent’s computer cache are permissible under the court’s new interpretation.


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