C. Public Stigma: Stripping Away the Confidentiality

Shaming punishments frequently expose the offender's name and/or face directly to the public, and this publicity contravenes the traditional confidentiality afforded to juvenile delinquents. As part of his concurrence in Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co., Justice Rehnquist described as hallmarks of the system juvenile justice's emphasis on conducting proceedings outside of the public's gaze and on shielding youths from publicity of their offense. Rehnquist noted that anonymity protect[s] the young person from the stigma of his misconduct and is rooted in the principle that a court concerned with juvenile affairs serves as a rehabilitative and protective agency of the In recognizing that public exposure of a juvenile's identity may have long-term detrimental effects, the Justice opined about future lost employment opportunities, undue embarrassment to the family, and the potential for the punishment to do more harm than good by provid[ing] the hardcore delinquent the kind of attention he seeks, thereby encouraging him to commit further antisocial

Juvenile anonymity is not an absolute. In fact, when a newspaper lawfully obtains information regarding a juvenile's offense, it has a First Amendment right to publish the information. Furthermore, defendants have a Sixth Amendment right to cross-examine juveniles, even if they have been adjudicated delinquent. The constitutional considerations for those decisions are not present in administering juvenile shaming sanctions, however, and do not override the desirability of juvenile confidentiality.

The psychological impact of shaming's exposure of an offense is currently unknown, but a study of the psychological impact of the publicity concerning a youth's homicide trial provides insights to extrapolate from. Over a span of eight months, forty plus newspaper articles in the Oklahoma City area detailed the story of the young boy, L.B., and a number of these stories included his name. Even after a restraining order regarding the boy's identity was issued, news publications continued to publicize the story and referred to the 11-year-old boy (sometimes black boy) who shot a railroad The papers published L.B.'s picture, prior to the restraining order, and film footage showing him leaving the courthouse aired during that time. The true extent of L.B.'s knowledge of the publicity surrounding his case is unclear; he saw an article with his name and picture, although he also claimed to have heard radio and television broadcasts about his case.

The study's authors found that L.B. suffered several detrimental effects from the trial's publicity, resulting in events that hinder[ed] his rehabilitation in the The first event was precipitated by L.B. himself when, after seeing his name and picture in the newspaper, he told other residents in the detention center he was confined to about the shooting. L.B.'s openness caused frequent confrontations between L.B. and other residents, as well as psychological discomfort and stress . . . while he was in The second incident occurred after L.B. returned to school, and another student announced L.B.'s offense to the class. As a result of his exposure, L.B.'s peers harassed him, and the study concluded that the publicity produced considerable interference with the rehabilitation of the frightened and dependent A final example of the impact of L.B.'s trial exposure occurred at home, when L.B. rejected his court-ordered home placement with his father and ran to his mother's house. The authors found that the publicity had aroused in L.B. a need for protection, which he felt his father did not provide. Overall, the study concluded that the publicity caused L.B. additional stress, interfered with his reintegration into the community, and let to confrontations with his peers.

Although it is unlikely that any shaming punishment would receive the media attention given to L.B.'s case, it is clear that if L.B.'s confidentiality had been maintained, many of the difficulties he experienced would not have occurred. L.B. was not forced to walk in front of a store or stand on the courthouse steps; his identity was distributed through secondary news sources. A child publicly exposed in a shaming punishment is forced to disclose his identity (and possibly the nature of his offense) of his own accord, and his punishment could garner significant media attention.

As at least one scholar argues, [p]ublicity is detrimental to both the juvenile's prospects for rehabilitation, and to society's chances of reforming young people before they become adult The functional differences between exposure from access to court proceedings and exposure from public shaming punishments are minimal. In both instances, the youth's face (and thus possibility identity) is disclosed, the crime may be revealed, and the final adjudication of the matter (delinquent) is announced. The exposure stemming from shaming, however, is compounded by the emotional and physical vulnerabilities these sanctions produce, further working against the juvenile's rehabilitation.