Child Porn in New York

June 20, 2012

On May 8th the New York Court of Appeals ruled that it is not illegal to view child pornography online. In a case involving defendant James Kent, a former Marist College professor, the court found that some images in Kent’s computer cache, could not legally be held against him. The rationale behind the finding is that there must be an affirmative act demonstrating a defendant exercised dominion and control over the images on a computer screen. Absent such an affirmative act there is merely viewing and not possession or procurement.  — N.E.2d —-, 2012 WL 1580439

A State Senator and an Assemblyman have announced they’ll introduce legislation making it illegal to “knowingly access” child pornography. There is precedent for such legislation, specifically in Alaska. AS § 11.61.127 states, in part:

A person commits the crime of possession of child pornography if the person knowingly possesses or knowingly accesses on a computer with intent to view any material that visually depicts conduct described in AS 11.41.455(a) knowing that the production of the material involved the use of a child under 18 years of age who engaged in the conduct or a depiction of a part of an actual child under 18 years of age who, by manipulation, creation, or modification, appears to be engaged in the conduct.

Though morality cannot be legislated, it is comforting to know Alaska, New York and others are endeavoring to identify and prosecute those who intend to exploit the most vulnerable of citizens: our children.

For additional information on this topic:

On WestlawNext:

Search – (procure access view possess) child pornography
Content – All States

On Westlaw or WestlawNext:

Search – possess! procur! /s porn! /5 child
Content –  New York (People v. Kent should be the first result on WestlawNext)

Search – ti(POSSESS! PROCUR! /S PORN! /5 CHILD)
Content – Secondary Sources

Search – PR,CA,TE(KNOW! /5 POSSESS! PROCUR! ACCESS! /S PORN! /5 CHILD)
Content – Statutes and Court Rules, or Pending and Enacted Legislation