Like Peter, Pilate had violent swings of emotion and resolve during the trial of Jesus. He was ready to let him go; he was mad at Him, he was afraid, and he was fickle! He was impressed with his own authority and wanted Jesus to know it. When Jesus challenge his authority with God's, he snapped, and was ready to destroy Jesus.
John points out the language issues, twice giving the Hebrew translations of things. The sign was written in three languages. Jesus was crucified close to town in a multi-cultural environment. He also records "as was the custom" for those of us who don't know or wouldn't remember.
Joseph and Nicodemus were both secret disciples because of fear. This was quite a sad coming out party for them. Why come out of the closet now? What does a secret follower do when the one he follows dies? I imagine they would give up most likely.