Logic takes us strange places sometimes, like when a judge found herself writing this little gem: "The purposeful viewing of child pornography on the internet is now legal in New York." That's a sentence you'd want to wash your hands after committing to paper (heck, or wash your eyes after reading), but it comes at the end of a line of reasoning in an appeals court decision that makes sense even if it appears to provide a loophole for kiddie porn lovers. 

Essentially, the court ruled on Tuesday, you can't be held responsible for things you just see online, even kiddie porn, the viewing of which isn't actually illegal under New York law. As MSNBC.com's M. Alex Johnson reports, the majority opinion by New York Court of Appeals Senior Judge Carmen Ciparik: 

"Rather, 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," Ciparick wrote. "To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct — viewing — that our Legislature has not deemed criminal."

It's true: Under article 263 of New York's penal code, it's illegal to create, possess, distribute, promote, or facilitate child pornography, but it's not illegal simply to view it. And the evidence in the case against Marist College Professor James D. Kent consisted of images found in a Web cache on his computer when he took it in to get it scanned for viruses.

As Johnson points out, federal child pornography laws don't mention browser caches, and just that evidence hasn't been enough to win federal convictions in the past. Since he didn't know the cache was capturing the Web content, Kent couldn't be held responsible for collecting them, the court ruled. Because as we all learned from this ruling, simply looking at child pornography is legal in New York. Gross.