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COA: Signatures do not have to take a specific form

April 19, 2017

A man who drove too fast and was given an electronic speeding ticket failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that all signatures are not the same.

Philip Davis filed a pro se appeal of a judgment against him for the civil infraction of speeding. In part, he argued the trial court should have granted his motion to dismiss because the summons and complaint did not bear the sergeant’s signature.

The ticket issued to Davis as well as the summons and complaint had the police officer’s name, badge number and policy agency electronically printed on them. Allen Superior Court found that a non-electronic signature was not required by state statute.

On appeal, Davis did not raise any issues with an electronic signature but he asserted it should be formatted in a manner that is different from the rest of the text. He contended, the “mere printing of a name, in the same type as the rest of the complaint and summons, is not a signature.”

The Court of Appeals found no reversible error in Philip R. Davis v. State of Indiana, 02A05-1609-IF-2026.

The unanimous panel noted while Indiana Code 9-30-3-6 holds that traffic infraction summons and complaint must include a variety of information including the officer’s signature, it does not specify what form the signature should take.

Also, it pointed out its own precedent holds that an original, personally-signed signature is not required under the statute.

“Here, it is undisputed that the ticket issued to Davis included all necessary information regarding the nature of his offense and when and where he was to appear in court to answer for it,” Judge John Baker wrote for the court. “The ticket also included Sergeant (John) Shank’s name, badge number, and police agency. While we do not find that Sergeant Shank’s signature was required to take any certain form, even if there was such a requirement, the failure to meet it would have been a mere technicality.”
 

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