Yes, as Pilate told Jesus (John 19:10), he had power to release him. His difficulty lay in his own bad record. If he refused to oblige the Jews in this matter, they might go to Rome and accuse him before the Emperor of many acts of misgovernment. It would have done him no harm for them to complain of his letting Jesus go. In that matter, his defense that the prisoner was innocent, would have been sufficient. But they would probably say nothing about Jesus; they would bring charges against him for which he had no defense and he would lose his office. He concluded that he could not afford to set them at defiance, although he ought to have done so.