color of law
n.
The appearance of legal authority without the substance; something that appears to have the authority of law but in fact does not.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


color of law
Conduct based upon what appears to be a legal right or enforcement of statute, but in reality is a violation of law, such as issuing phony traffic tickets in order to raise revenue or extort payoffs.
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


color of law
n. The conduct of a police officer, judge, or another person clothed with governmental authority that, although it superficially appears to be within the individual's lawful power, is actually in contravention of the law. For example, a police officer who makes a false arrest while on duty, or while off duty but when they are wearing a uniform or badge, is acting under color of law. In some circumstances, the phrase also applies to the conduct of private individuals that is specifically authorized or approved by a statute. Depriving a person of his or her federal civil rights under color of law is, in and of itself, a federal crime and a ground for a cause of action. Also called under color of law.
If the conduct violates a federal civil right or criminal law, it is also called state action.
See also color of title.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.


color of law
The appearance of a legal right.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.


color of law
The appearance of a legal right.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

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 protesters 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.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • color of law — noun a mere semblance of legal right; something done with the apparent authority of law but actually in contravention of law the plaintiff claimed that under color of law the officer had deprived him of his civil rights • Syn: ↑colour of law •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • color of law — The appearance or semblance, without the substance, of legal right. Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state, is action taken under color of state law. Atkins v …   Black's law dictionary

  • color of law — The appearance or semblance, without the substance, of legal right. Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state, is action taken under color of state law. Atkins v …   Black's law dictionary

  • color of law — Mere semblance of a legal right. State ex rel. West v Des Moines, 96 Iowa 521, 65 NW 818 …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • under color of law — >> color of law Webster s New World Law Dictionary. Susan Ellis Wild. 2000 …   Law dictionary

  • under color of law — See color of law …   Black's law dictionary

  • color of title — 1: an apparent but invalid title based upon a written instrument or record; also: the instrument itself 2: an apparent ownership claimed by adverse possession Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • color of office — color of of·fice: the pretense or appearance of official authority in one who is without the authority claimed Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. color of office …   Law dictionary

  • color of authority — That semblance or presumption of authority sustaining the acts of a public officer which is derived from his apparent title to the office or from a writ or other process in his hands apparently valid and regular. See color of law color of office …   Black's law dictionary

  • color of office — Pretense of official right to do act made by one who has no such right. Kiker v. Pinson, 120 Ga.App. 784, 172 S.E.2d 333, 334. An act under color of office is an act of an officer who claims authority to do the act by reason of his office when… …   Black's law dictionary

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