There are many activities in 2013 which the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is busy planning for the coming months. Some of the responsibilities of CCLA are to ensure that the Canadian-U.S. Security Perimeter agreement is monitored, privacy rights in work places are safeguarded, for instance, if an employer eavesdrops to know more about their potential employees, and also to make sure the police takes measures against their misconduct. The term paper describes the case study in which CCLA played a major role in arbitrating the inquest into the tragic death of a young lady Ashley Smith. The aim of CCLA participation was to ensure that the circumstances connected with the death of Ashley were explicitly accounted for the public, as well as to ascertain that proper administration and accountability for issues were provided.

In 2007, at a tender age of 19, Ms. Smith died in her cell at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. She had spent much time in several provincial as well as federal correctional facilities, where she fought her mental infirmities before she found herself in a solitary confinement. There she was segregated for several months. The teenager died in this segregated cell. She strangled herself with a ligature. At the same time guards just stared at the dying girl because they had instructions not to intervene until she stopped breathing. Allison Thornton of Koch Thornton LLP CCLA represented CCLA at the inquest in order to make sure that government and authorities protect the freedoms and fundamental rights of people, and that accountability mechanisms work (February 2013 e-bulletin, n. p. 2).

1. A concise description of how your initial response to the legality and ethical components of the case studies

All human beings are naturally created to be compassionate for each other regardless of their situations, race, gender, belief or sexual orientation. It is heartless to segregate a disabled person like Ashley without any good intention or necessary attention from her family, friends, social workers or the government institutions that obligated to provide such a help as Ashley needed. It is even more inhuman of the guards and their commanders to watch indifferently as a young woman ends her life. I don’t think there are any laws or ethical values that encourage any institution to subject a person to segregation without care or watch a dying person without trying to stop the process when it is possible.


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2. A concise, but detailed, discussion of the principles of libel law and ethics from the APA manual

The definition of libel means the use of words, pictures, photo, captions and headlines to defame a person or an institution. Considering the fact that the claims against the defamed Grand Valley Institution and the officers who guarded the cell had not been ascertained during the investigation, it was not appropriate to make defaming facts public before the due processes were completed. As it is also defined in New York, a libelous statement is that which tends to expose a person to hatred, aversion or contempt or to induce a nasty or an evil opinion of him in the minds of a considerable number of people in society. Therefore, it is important to know the state in which such a libel, relating to the inquest of the lady’s death, took place to understand the application of its legal stipulations, as well as all the circumstances connected with the respective libel. However, since it was a matter of public concern, it is required that public officers prove the libel claims false in order for the facts to prevail over the libel claims.

3. Clearly define how the issue developed, how it is being handled, and how you would have handled it differently. If the issue is ongoing, discuss where it is likely to go. If it is closed, discuss the outcome

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Deranged Ashley Smith strangled herself in a segregation cell, while the officers, who were instructed not to touch her until she died, watched it. There was a report of those events, although its sources of publication are not clear. CCLA, which has experience in fighting for human rights, came on board. It is believed that this body is competent to administer justice, unraveling the truth. Overhaul of Grand Valley Institution for Women was expected as well as prosecution of the cell officers if convicted (1).

4. Your reaction and lessons learned from the case study. If you were summing it up to add to a case study book, can you sum up the problem and solution in a one-paragraph summary?

In society, people should be responsible for the treatment of other people, especially those who are in need. We should be accountable for this whether it is done or not done. It is also very important to understand the laws of one’s state, especially those concerning the handling of information, so as to avoid running into trouble, unknowingly breaking a law.


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