Illinois Supreme Court Rule 660(c) provides that "[i]n all appeals filed from proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act, the minor(s) shall be identified by first name and last initial or by initials only. The preferred method is first name and last initial. The alternative method of initials only is to be used when, due to an unusual first name or spelling, the preferred method would create a substantial risk of revealing a minor's identity. The name(s) of the involved minor(s) shall not appear on any documents filed with the Appellate Court or any subsequent court."
Somewhere along the line, the Illinois Supreme and Appellate courts began applying Rule 660(c) differently depending on the type of proceeding at issue. In juvenile delinquency cases, the courts refer to the minor by first name and last initial (e.g., In re Montrell S.). In custody and parental rights cases, however, the courts simply refers to the minor by his initials (e.g. In re S.W.).
Nothing in Rule 660(c) justifies differing levels of privacy for delinquency proceedings versus custody proceedings. By disclosing comparatively more identifying information about juveniles in delinquency proceedings than juveniles in custody proceedings, the courts send the message (maybe inadvertently) that delinquent juveniles don't deserve full anonymity because they have done something wrong. On the other hand, juveniles involved in custody proceedings deserve a higher level of anonymity because those juveniles have been good. This is not a principle that can be gleaned from Rule 606 or any published case law.
In addition to the peculiar distinction drawn between delinquency cases and custody cases, the courts have also seemed to shrug off the provision of Rule 606(c) that states a minor's initials are to be used only "when, due to an unusual first name or spelling, the preferred method would create a substantial risk of revealing a minor's identity." Take, for instance, the First District case filed earlier this year, In re Shermaine S., 2015 IL App (1st) 142421. I have personally never met a human being named Shermaine, and I can't imagine that Shermaine S. (who I should mention is a male) would feel very anonymous if, say for example, the school principal came onto the public address system and announced that Shermaine S. had wet himself during gym class. (The appellate court has issued many other opinions and Rule 23 orders that identify minors by their unique first names, for example: In re Tamajiana T.; In re Stormie D.K.; In re Stephone B.; In re Raniya F.)
The courts should begin adhering to Rule 606(c) in some kind of principled way. The current practice just looks bad.