Two noteworthy petitions filed last month are Wong v. Smith, which challenges jury instructions as “coercive,” and Novell v. SCO Group, which concerns the terms of transfer of copyright ownership.

Briefs in opposition have not yet been filed in either case, but their petitions and questions presented are below:

Title: Wong v. Smith
Docket: 09-1031
Issue: Do 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) and this Court's precedent permit federal habeas corpus relief on a claim that a state judge unconstitutionally “coerces” jurors to return a guilty verdict by identifying specific evidence in the case as important and instructing them to consider it?

Title: Novell, Inc. v. SCO Group, Inc.
Docket: 09-1061
Issue: Whether the “writing” referenced in 17 U.S.C. § 204(a) — requiring for a transfer of copyright ownership “an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer” that is “in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly authorized agent” — must specify which copyrights were conveyed, or instead requires only that the written instrument could be construed to convey some copyrights.

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline