The purpose of a judicial process is not, in the first place, to side with the victim. The point of judicial process is to determine, carefully and without jumping to conclusions, who the victim is. Once the truth is established by due process, the Bible everywhere and always sides with the victim.
But we live in a fallen world, and everyone wants the good things without the process that provides us with those good things — which means that men want the acquittal and vindication, only without the trial. Some men want the trial, but all men want the verdict . . . provided the verdict goes their way. If it looks like the verdict will not go their way, guilty men want a trial also, but not as a means of determining the truth. They want a trial as something that will help postpone the day of reckoning.
This is why the Bible is not on the side of any particular person a priori. You shall not side with the many to pervert justice, and you shall not side with a poor man to pervert justice.
“You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit” (Ex. 23:1–3, ESV).
If one of your kids runs in from the backyard with a tale of woe, saying that her brother hit her on the head with a stick, this is certainly grounds for an indictment. Mom really should inquire. But in the course of the trial, what if she discovers that he did so because she had been poking him with that same stick for the previous half an hour? All accusations and all defenses are contextual.
This causes angst with those who want all their trials framed beforehand with a nice, robust guilty verdict. Helps them know where they are. Helps them know how to frame the issues. “Nothing can justify hitting your sister on the head with a stick!” This is quite right, which is why in a godly household he would get swats . . . right after his sister got hers. Then they would hug each other, and the backyard play area would be reconsecrated with the oil running down from Aaron’s beard.
Dispensing with trials is in effect to say that due process, the defendant confronting his accuser, cross-examining witnesses, the presumption of innocence, are all irrelevant. But in reality such practices are the only possible way to preserve the category of victim. If we do not do this, we no longer have victims, we simply have “sides.” And thus we have laid the foundation of endless blood feuds, and we have bid farewell to actual biblical justice. By the time we get to the facts as they actually happened, too many activists are already fully invested in their partisan account. Can you imagine Al Sharpton ever saying, under any circumstances whatever, something like, “We are very grateful to discover that this tragedy in Poughkeepsie was not a racially-charged incident at all. As you know, we do retain our concerns about other incidents, but are grateful that this is not one of them.” One smiles as one writes a sentence like that.
And last, in order to conduct an orderly investigation, it is necessary to create and zealously defend a zone where such protections for the yet-to-be-determined victim actually exist. And while this may come as a shock to some, Twitter is not that place. Say that someone has thrown chum in the water — one third of the relevant facts usually works — and a bunch of players and witnesses have been called out by means of cyber-subpoenas. Just want to ask Jane Doe some questions. That’s all.