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I have a question about case citations addressing a criminal court's deference to administrative agency rulings. The hypothetical arises when an administrative agency action instantly re-defines an ongoing activity as a crime. The crime results in an arrest and charges well before there is any opportunity for administrative review of the propriety of the agency action.
Can you conceive of a motion in limine that would allow review of the agency action under a lax "arbitrary and capricious" standard and permit the use of this as an affirmative defense in a criminal trial? If so, does the jury get to decide a mixed question of law and fact? What is the standard for a criminal jury to apply if deciding if an agency action is "arbitrary and capricious"?
I'm not an attorney and have had no legal training but I read quite a bit.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 45 minutes by:
3/5/2016
Lawyer: Gerald, Esq, Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5,175
Experience: Over 30 years of experience
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Hello,

Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

I am afraid that there is a defect in your hypothetical. An administrative agency lacks the authority to classify an activity as criminal. Only the legislative body (Congress at the federal level, and the General Assembly at the State level) has the authority to classify conduct as criminal.

Administrative Agencies are creations of the legislative branch but fall under the enforcement arm of the Executive Branch. While an agency can promulgate a regulation for the purpose of implementing their enabling statute ( the law that created the agency) such regulations can not exceed the agencies statutory or Constitutional limitations.

An attempt by an agency to criminalize conduct would be invalid and unconstitutional. You would never get to the 'arbitrary and capricious" standard because the attempt would be ultra vires. The review of the agency action would not be by jury, because the authority of the agency is strictly a question of law and Constitutional authority.

If faced with such a rogue action by an agency the remedy would be to seek an injunction against the agency.

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but it helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you and only ask the same from you.

Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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