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Trending Now: The Use of Social Media Websites in Public Shaming Punishments

37 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2015  

Date Written: March 17, 2015


This Note proposes that a social media shaming sanction might be an effective addition to the menu of public shaming punishments the judiciary already offers. Section II of this Note lays the foundation of shaming punishments in America, giving an overview of their history and development. Section III discusses the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Gementera, in which the court upheld a modern-day public shaming punishment, as well as other select cases that have upheld public shaming punishments that involve print media. Section IV outlines the current scholarly debate surrounding the use of public shaming punishments. Section V gives an overview of the presence of social media and Internet usage in today’s society, discusses a new trend among parents in which parents have begun to utilize social media to punish their children, and evaluates public shaming punishments via social media websites from the vantage point of various criminal law theories. Finally, Section VI advocates for the inclusion of online social media public shaming punishments into the judiciary’s already expansive list of sentencing options, but with some limitations and guidelines.

Keywords: public shaming, punishment, criminal law, social media, sentencing, legal theory

Suggested Citation

Goldman, Lauren mname, Trending Now: The Use of Social Media Websites in Public Shaming Punishments (March 17, 2015). American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 52, 2015. Available at SSRN:

Lauren Goldman (Contact Author)

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