|you might want to refrain|
|make every effort to help|
(Bava Metzia 32a; Mekhilta; Yad, Rotzeach 13:1; Sefer HaMitzvoth, Positive Commandment 202). Some see the verb azav here as denoting unloading rather than helping (Ibn Ezra). Others see it as denoting loading (Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim).
Or, 'worthless.' Therefore, justice must be administered fairly even to the worst criminal (Mekhilta; Yad, Sanhedrin 20:5; Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative Commandment 278). The word literally means 'one who desires' (Rashi; Radak, Sherashim), and hence also denotes a poor person (Targum).
|not been proven guilty|
Literally, 'guiltless.' This teaches that it is forbidden for the courts to impose a death penalty on the basis of circumstantial evidence (Mekhilta; Yad, Sanhedrin 20:1; Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative Commandment 290). It also teaches that it is forbidden to impose the death penalty as long as anyone has evidence to present in the accused's favor (Mekhilta; Sanhedrin 33b; Rashi).
|or one who has been acquitted|
Once a suspect has been acquitted, the death penalty cannot be imposed no matter how much evidence against him is found. This prohibits double jeopardy (Ibid.). Some count these as two separate commandments (Ramban on Sefer HaMitzvoth loc. cit.; Chinukh 82).