Philip R. Davis, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Allen Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
02D06-1605-IF-7263 The Honorable John F. Surbeck, Jr., Judge,
The Honorable Jason C. Custer, Magistrate
Appellant Pro Se Philip R. Davis Fort Wayne, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Lyubov Gore Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis,
Philip Davis appeals following a judgment against him for the
civil infraction of speeding. He argues that the trial court
erred by denying his motion to dismiss and that the trial
court made erroneous evidentiary rulings. Finding no
reversible error, we affirm.
Around 6:00 p.m. on May 13, 2016, Fort Wayne Police Sergeant
John Shank was on duty and observing traffic in an area with
a speed limit of thirty miles per hour. Sergeant Shank
noticed a red Cadillac driving southbound in the middle lane.
The vehicle was driving faster than the cars on either side
of it and had an expired license plate. Sergeant Shank's
handheld radar unit showed that the vehicle was traveling at
a speed of forty-nine miles per hour. He followed the vehicle
and initiated a traffic stop.
Sergeant Shank approached Davis, the driver of the Cadillac,
and asked him for his license and registration. As for the
expired license plate, Davis claimed that he had paid his
license registration fees but had not yet received the tag
back from the State. The sergeant gave Davis the benefit of
the doubt on the expired license and then issued an
electronic speeding ticket. The ticket had Sergeant
Shank's name, badge number, and police agency
electronically printed on it.
On May 18, 2016, the State filed a complaint and summons
alleging that Davis had committed the infraction of speeding.
The complaint and summons also had Sergeant Shank's name,
badge number, and police agency electronically printed on
them, as well as a signature by the deputy prosecutor.
On August 2, 2016, Davis filed a motion to dismiss, arguing
that the case should be dismissed because Sergeant
Shank's printed name on the ticket, complaint, and
summons did not constitute a signature. The trial court
denied the motion, finding that a non-electronic signature
was not required by statute and that if there was a defect,
it was a mere technicality that did not have the effect of
preventing the reasonable objectives of the statutorily
prescribed requirements from being met.
Davis's jury trial was held on August 4, 2016. Before
trial, Davis informed the trial court that he intended to
introduce records of his vehicle's maintenance, which
were dated after May 14, 2016. The State objected on
relevance grounds, on grounds that the exhibit was not on any
exhibit list, and on foundational grounds because no witness
would be called to support the admission of the exhibit. The
trial court sustained the State's objection. Davis did
not attempt to introduce the exhibit at trial or make an
offer of proof.
At trial, Davis admitted that he was driving at a speed of
forty-nine miles per hour in an area with a speed limit of
thirty miles per hour. He insisted that he did this out of
necessity because his vehicle was overheating at the time and
he was attempting to get the vehicle home or to a mechanic.
To address Davis's necessity defense, the State sought to
elicit testimony from Davis regarding the type of specialty
license plate he had. Davis wondered, "Can I ask the
relevance of this?" Tr. p. 35. The State responded that
it was relevant to the necessity defense, and the trial court
permitted the question. Davis answered the question and did
not object. The jury found Davis liable for the infraction of
speeding and did not order him to pay any damages. Davis now