People v. Campbell
124 Mich.App. 333, 335 N.W.2d 27 (1983)

  • Basnaw slept with Campbell’s wife. The two later got drunk together. Campbell encouraged Basnaw to kill himself, and even gave him a gun. Campbell then left and Basnaw killed himself.
  • Campbell was arrested and charged with murder.
  • The Trial Court denied Campbell’s motion to dismiss. He appealed.
    • Campbell argued that he could not be guilty of murder for just giving someone a gun.
  • The Appellate Court reversed and granted the motion to dismiss.
    • The Appellate Court found that Campbell had no intention (aka mens rea) to kill. He had a hope that Basnaw would die, but that isn’t criminal.
    • The Court found that a plain language reading of the Statute defines homicide as “the killing of one person by another.” That wasn’t what happened here.
  • This doctrine is similar to the doctrine of nonfeasance in tort law.