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NEW YORK, July 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Viewing child pornography on the Internet even without downloading images is against the law, a federal appeals court in New York has ruled.

The ruling comes weeks after the state’s Court of Appeals dismissed charges against a former professor for viewing some images without downloading them. That ruling was based upon a technical reading of a provision in New York law that it must be proved the accused had “dominion” or “control” over the images.

Immediately after that ruling, New York state senators scrambled to pass a bill to make viewing child porn on the Internet illegal in the state, even if the images weren’t downloaded. 

In the recent case, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York confirmed Monday that defendant James Ramos, who was charged under federal law, “had some control over the images even without saving them” when he viewed child pornography images that were traceable in deleted temporary Internet files on his computer in 2008.

Read the ruling here.

Ramos, 60, was previously convicted in state court in 1990 of sexually abusing two preteen girls, for which he served 14 years in prison. He was released in 2003 on parole, under condition that he not “possess, seek access to or remain near any pornographic materials.” 

In the current case, Ramos had argued that the federal statute under which he had been convicted to a minimum 15-year prison sentence in 2010 was not clear that simply viewing the images was enough to earn a conviction. The statute was clarified by Congress in October 2008, six months after Ramos’ arrest.

While the statute itself did not at the time define “receipt” or “possession” of images, said the judges, precedent in other Circuit courts shows that a strict interpretation of the terms should be used.

“In the circumstances here, we hold that the evidence was sufficient to prove that Ramos was guilty of knowingly receiving and possessing child pornography under the statute as it was worded in April 2008, even assuming he viewed the images in question only in temporary internet files and did not save them onto his hard drive,” the court ruled.

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