New York Gets it Right
Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Last month, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that viewing child pornography online is not a crime. The decision came after Marist College professor James D. Kent was sentenced to prison after more than 100 images of child pornography were found on his computer’s cache. Each time someone views a photo online, a copy of the image is automatically saved in the memory cache.
The court’s ruling created a distinction between individuals who view an image of child pornography online against those who actively download and store such images. And in this case, it was ruled that a computer’s image cache is not the same as actively choosing to download and save an image. This is simply wrong.
This decision created a giant loophole for Internet pornographers: in New York, the courts have essentially said it’s legal to view child pornography as long as you don’t download it.
Thankfully Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced an agreement this week on legislation that will more effectively prohibit Internet access of child pornography. If enacted, an individual who purposefully accesses a website intending to view child pornography will be committing a class E felony. As a result of this legislation, child pornography can never be legally possessed in New York State.
We applaud Governor Cuomo, Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver for working swiftly to close a disturbing loophole in New York’s child pornography law. This law makes clear that there is no acceptable reason for anyone to view or possess child pornography. We call on all members in the legislature to pass this bill before the end of this legislative session in order to protect innocent children.
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