Administrative agencies are considered regulators, not prosecutors. Yet they often take the latter’s persona, complete with subpoena power and the authority to levy fines. And when they do so, they operate with an unfair advantage.
No-one claims that Courts should somehow defer to how a prosecutor says the law should be interpreted. Judges will make an independent determination of what the law says, and instruct the jury accordingly. (That is after both sides proposed their versions of the instructions, which is part and parcel of due process for the litigants.)
Administrative agencies, on the other hand, receive deference from the Courts whenever they interpret the laws they are charged with administering. Curiously, that holds true even when they take their regulatory hat off and don a prosecutorial cap instead. On appeal from an administrative fine, the Courts will still defer to the agency’s opinion on how the law should be understood.
This presents yet another wrinkle for businesses and their attorneys to keep in mind when facing governmental agencies.