There is, legally speaking, a different burden of proof needed to convict in a criminal trial as opposed to a civil trial. There are judicial reasons.
But after all the “legalese” has been explained, it’s still hard for the average Joe or Jane to figure out how O.J. could be “not guilty” of the murder of his wife, Nicole, and Ronald Goldman in a criminal trial – while at the same time being found “responsible” and “liable” for their deaths in a civil trial.
So he didn’t do it…but he did do it? He is not guilty…but responsible? Or, reasonable folks know the guy did it, but they can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial – so the civil trial is legal frustration?
Both the miscarriage and the confusion of justice are not unique to the American judicial system. The Bible offers both precepts and case histories.
“Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the Lord detests them both,” says the Bible (Proverbs 17:15).
Naboth has a vineyard. King Ahab wants it. Queen Jezebel gets it for him. She gets Naboth out of the way by framing him on trumped-up charges. She employs false witnesses, abuses the courts and inflames the people to legalized murder. Naboth is railroaded by a “kangaroo court.” He is put to death for crimes he did not commit. A just man is condemned.
There is another case history. Jesus Christ. A heathen governor of Rome knew and publicly stated more than once: “I find no fault in Him.”
But Jesus went to the cross anyway – for crimes He did not commit. And a terrorist named Barabbas got a “get out of jail free” card.
Still, out of this gross miscarriage of justice, out of this thing which “the Lord detests,” – “acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent” – God mysteriously brought about the redemption of the world.
The wrathful Caiphas said more than he knew when he told his fellow conspirators regarding Jesus: “It is better for us that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
The angry Jews brought glory to God unawares when they mocked the Savior, saying: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” Quite true! For at the cross, God showed Himself “both just and the one who justifies the person who has faith in Jesus. “ (Romans 3:26).
God can write straight with our crooked lines, and even with crooks.
The cross proves it.