Color of Law Crimes – abuse of authority by government official(s) by using of the appearance (“color”) of law in order to deprive someone of a right or commit fraud


n. (13c) 1. Appearance, guise, or semblance; especially, the appearance of a legal claim to a right, authority, or office <color of title> <under color of state law>.” [1]

color of law:

(17c) The appearance or semblance, without the substance, of a legal right.  The term usually implies a misuse of power made possible because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of the state.  State action is synonymous with color of [state] law in the context of federal civil-rights statutes or criminal law.  See’ STATE ACTION.”

color of office:

(16c) The authority or power that is inherent in an office, especially a public office.  Acts taken under the color of an office are vested with, or appear to be vested with, the authority entrusted to that office.”

      Excerpt from Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce’s Criminal Law:

     “The starting point in the law. of bribery seems to have been when a judge, for doing his office or acting under color of his office, took a reward or fee from some person who had occasion to come before him, and apparently guilt attached only to the judge himself and not to the bribe-giver. [2]

     Color of Law Crimes are a crime and a constitutional tort.

See Need-to-Know U.S. Code to STOP Color of Law Crimes

FBI Website on Color of Law


[1]: All definitions from: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce’s Criminal Law 527 (3d ed. 1982)

Learn the System