A judge whose chambers surfed the Internet to survey rain hats available to consumers while evaluating the evidence in a case before him did not violate federal rules, an appellate court has found.

Southern District of New York Judge Denny Chin’s use of the Web was merely the electronic equivalent of what a judge in an earlier era would have done: gone to a local department store to confirm in person the “common-sense” belief that a variety of yellow rain hats, like that worn by a bank robber, can be purchased, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in United States v. Bari, 09-1074-cr.