“You may not be scared before any man!” (Devarim 1:17)
It is a negative commandment that a judge must hold himself back from being afraid of any man who comes to be judged the true judgment, even if he is a dangerous tough man. He must give the correct verdict and not give any thought at all to that any damage which might happen to him because of his verdict, and about this it says “You may not be scared before any man!”.
The root of this commandment is obvious.
Amongst the laws of this commandment is that which Chazal said that two people who come before you for judgment and one is soft and the other is tough, until the stage that you have heard their words and even if you have already heard their words and are unsure what the correct verdict is, you are allowed to say to them that you refuse to get involved with them as maybe the tough man will be found guilty and will chase after the judge to kill him. However, once you have heard their words and know which way the verdict is leaning, you may not say to them that you refuse to get involved with them, as it says “You may not be scared before any man!”. Chazal also said that a student who is sitting before his teacher and sees a reason to acquit the poor man and to convict the rich man may not keep quiet, as it says “You may not be scared before any man!”.
This commandment applies in all places and at all times, to men who sit in judgment. One who refuses to judge because he is scared of the tough man when he knows what the verdict should be has transgressed this commandment, and if he also perverted the verdict, he has transgressed this commandment and also that of “You must not bend justice!”