To “be partial to the wicked” would never be a “good” thing. And it’s hard to understand why someone would think that is okay.
A good translation, the idea here actually comes from the root word “to lift up.” To set the wicked up in a good place or as an example. That is just not going to turn out to be a good thing.
Yet we do it – especially when we find it in our own selfish best-interest to do so! Admittedly, in our society today, this is a complicated issue to live out every day – both politically and socially – but we can and we should.
The second line of this verse offers another reason to not “be partial to the wicked.” In doing so we would also “deprive the innocent of justice.”
Again, an appropriate translation, the root word here is “to stretch” something out. Setting up the bad guys really stretches out “justice” and doing the right thing for those who are trying to live appropriately (“the innocent” – literally the “righteous”).
If anything, I suggest this wise saying could simply be reversed. We should lift up (“be partial to”) to the innocent/righteous and stretch out (“deprive”) the wicked!