Nieto 9--- Judge Henry Nieto, Colorado Court of Appeals, 8-20-2009 People v. Munoz, 240 P.3d 311 (Colo. Ct. App. 2009)
"Should" is "used . . . to express duty, obligation, propriety, or expediency." Webster's Third New International Dictionary 2104 (2002). Courts [**15] interpreting the word in various contexts have drawn conflicting conclusions, although the weight of authority appears to favor interpreting "should" in an imperative, obligatory sense. HN7A number of courts, confronted with the question of whether using the word "should" in jury instructions conforms with the Fifth and Sixth Amendment protections governing the reasonable doubt standard, have upheld instructions using the word. In the courts of other states in which a defendant has argued that the word "should" in the reasonable doubt instruction does not sufficiently inform the jury that it is bound to find the defendant not guilty if insufficient proof is submitted at trial, the courts have squarely rejected the argument. They reasoned that the word "conveys a sense of duty and obligation andcould not be misunderstoodby a jury." See State v. McCloud, 257 Kan. 1, 891 P.2d 324, 335 (Kan. 1995); see also Tyson v. State, 217 Ga. App. 428, 457 S.E.2d 690, 691-92 (Ga. Ct. App. 1995) (finding argument that "should" is directional but not instructional to be without merit); Commonwealth v. Hammond, 350 Pa. Super. 477, 504 A.2d 940, 941-42 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1986). Notably, courts interpreting the word "should" in other types of jury instructions [**16] have also found that the word conveys to the jury a sense of duty or obligation andnot discretion. In Little v. State, 261 Ark. 859, 554 S.W.2d 312, 324 (Ark. 1977), the Arkansas Supreme Court interpreted the word "should" in an instruction on circumstantial evidence as synonymous with the word "must" and rejected the defendant's argument that the jury may have been misled by the court's use of the word in the instruction. Similarly, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected a defendant's argument that the court erred by not using the word "should" in an instructionon witness credibility which used the word "must" because the two words have the same meaning. State v. Rack, 318 S.W.2d 211, 215 (Mo. 1958). [*318] In applying a child support statute, the Arizona Court of Appeals concluded thata legislature's or commission's use of the word "should" is meant to convey duty or obligation. McNutt v. McNutt, 203 Ariz. 28, 49 P.3d 300, 306 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2002) (finding a statute stating that child support expenditures "should" be allocated for the purpose of parents' federal tax exemption to be mandatory).