"Color of law" is a legal term used in official misconduct cases. It means that the law enforcement officer acted while abusing the authority given to him or her in his or her employment as a public official.
Civil Rights DivisionU.S. Department of Justice950 Pennsylvania Ave., NWWashington, D.C. 20530
Complaints in writing are preferred, but there may be circumstances when a telephone complaint is appropriate (especially if there is an immediate danger). The "blue pages" of your local telephone book should have the phone numbers and addresses for the agencies shown below.
Health care access interference:
Involuntary servitude or migrant worker exploitation:
Religious interference or property damage:
If you're unable to locate the appropriate office listed above, please send the complaint in writing directly to the Criminal Section at the following address:
Criminal SectionCivil Rights DivisionU.S. Department of JusticeP.O. Box 66018Washington, D.C. 20035-6018
These programs have been established in every state and receive federal grants from a fund consisting of fines paid by convicted defendants nationwide.
Who is charged:
Usually an organization
Standard of proof:
Beyond a reasonable doubt
Preponderance of evidence
Individuals and/or representatives of a group or class
Prison, fine, restitution, community service
Correct policies and practices, relief for individuals
Govt's right to appeal:
Criminal cases are investigated and prosecuted differently from civil cases. More and stronger evidence is needed to get a criminal conviction than to win a civil suit. If the defendant is acquitted, the Government has no right of appeal.
A federal criminal conviction also requires a unanimous decision by 12 jurors (or by a judge only if the defendant chooses not to have a jury). A judge usually hears civil cases, but occasionally a jury will decide the case.
Both criminal and civil cases can be resolved without a trial where both sides and the judge agree; this is done by a plea agreement in a criminal case and by a consent decree in a civil suit.
In criminal cases, judges must use the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in determining the defendant's punishment, whereas judges in civil suits may or may not adopt remedies as recommended by the government when it wins.