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Discussion in 'GA Laws and Politics' started by CBH, Dec 8, 2018.
”Under color of authority” and how it is defined under Georgia law? Thank you.
Per Wikipedia: In United States law, the term color of law denotes the "mere semblance of legal right", the "pretense or appearance of" right; hence, an action done under color of law adjusts (colors) the law to the circumstance, yet said apparently legal action contravenes the law. Under color of authority is a legal phrase used in the US indicating that a person is claiming or implying the acts he or she is committing are related to and legitimized by his or her role as an agent of governmental power, especially if the acts are unlawful.
Yeah, that Wiki page has some good info for a general overview.
What the term SPECIFICALLY means in Georgia will depend on what law you're looking at where that term is used. Is it from O.C.G.A.? Is it from some administrative rule, policy, or regulation? Is it from the opinion of some court decision that makes a passing reference to that term without defining it?
A person on another forum mentioned this term and claimed that it gave LEO the right to commandeer private vehicles, if need arises, to pursue a suspect.
I believe he is wrong.
Well, put the burden on him to point to a law, a Code section, that uses the phrase.
I'm not seeing that particular phrase "under color of authority" anywhere in the entire Georgia Code. The similar term "color of law" is used several times, usually when granting full or partial immunity to government agents and public servants who might get sued by people for how they dealt with them in an official capacity. Nothing directly on-point for commandeering a private citizen's car to use in an emergency pursuit.
I have a feeling that the answer is YES, police officers can take your car over your objection, and if you resist they can use (non deadly) force against you, and later other cops can charge you with obstruction of an officer. If, and only if, the cops REALLY NEEDED your car to address a life-endangering emergency.
This would be a form of "taking" of private property for public benefit, and as a matter of constitutional law, you would be entitled to fair compensation.
When it comes to due process, as well as the 4th Amendment, the doctrine of "exigent circumstances" would make it reasonable for the cop to do the taking first without any advance notice to you, without any hearing, without having to stop and hear and consider your objections to that taking.