- Julius was a Soviet spy
- the evidence against Ethel was flimsy
- judge & prosecutor were overzealous and broke the law themselves
- the only people in American history executed for spying
- others found guilty of similar crimes drew far lighter sentences
- it was not a time of war, yet even Tokyo Rose in WW2 got only 6 years
- climate of rabid anti-Communism
- assimilationist desire of professional Jews to demonstrate their loyalty by sacrificing two of their radical working-class brethren