Color of Law

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Color of Law

The appearance of a legal right.

The act of a state officer, regardless of whether or not the act is within the limits of his or her authority, is considered an act under color of law if the officer purports to be conducting himself or herself in the course of official duties.

Under the civil rights act of 1871 (42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983), color of law is synonymous with State Action, which is conduct by an officer that bears a sufficiently close nexus to a state so that the action is treated as though it is by the state.


Ku Klux Klan Act.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

color of law

n. the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal right or enforcement of statute, when in reality no such right exists. An outstanding example is found in the civil rights acts which penalize law enforcement officers for violating civil rights by making arrests "under color of law" of peaceful protestors or to disrupt voter registration. It could apply to phony traffic arrests in order to raise revenue from fines or extort payoffs to forget the ticket.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Color of Law shows how this operated across the United States during the first half of the 20th century and in many places lingers today.
The Color of Law updates the history of residential racial segregation, relates it to contemporary outbursts of racial enmity, particularly the alienation between blacks and police that is so evident in many poor African American neighborhoods, and humanizes the consequences of racial division in housing.
While not groundbreaking for experts familiar with this history, The Color of Law is a story particularly well told and should help educate a younger generation of Americans.
In restricting the cemetery fund's use in bankruptcy claims, Randa stated that first, the claimants represented government actors in the proceedings "under color of law" for Religious Freedom Restoration Act purposes, and that second, depleting the funds would "substantially burden the Trustee's [Archbishop James Listecki's] free exercise of religion."
As for the TVPA, it provides a cause of action against an individual who, under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, subjects an individual to torture or extrajudicial killing.
Caption: Under color of law? Tim Demler has been the victim of some pretty interesting shenanigans perpetrated, it appears, by his political enemies.
(27) In addition, the court found the plaintiffs satisfied the state action requirement for other crimes by showing that the Bosnian-Serb leader acted under color of law because he acted in concert with the state officials of the former Yugoslavia.
"Do its activities--including but not limited to the Securities Valuation Office, System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing, Financial Standards and Accreditation Program, Market Analysis Procedures Working Group, and National Insurance Producer Registry-amount to regulating interstate commerce and/or exercising governmental, authority under color of Law?" Royce asked.
Nonetheless, adverse possession laws could set off a tremor that would rock the global economy, and there is no harm in requiring people not to steal, even under color of law. The entire system has to be reinforced with strong values if we have any hope at all of avoiding a complete collapse.
* "The Color of Law: Ernie Goodman, Detroit, and the Struggle for Labor and Civil Rights" by Steven Babson, David Elsila, and Dave Riddle (Wayne State University Press).
1983 under color of law, Fourth Amendment standards and police misconduct, procedural due process and property interests, absolute immunity for judges and prosecutors, qualified immunity, local government liability, parental liberty interest, and freedom of religion in prison.