Anthony L. Francois

Senior Attorney Sacramento

Tony Francois is an attorney in PLF’s Sacramento office, and has litigated cases around the country defending Americans’ property rights from land use and environmental restrictions. He is a member of the California State Bar and also practices before several federal trial and appellate courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Since graduating from college in 1987, Tony has continuously fought government, starting with other countries’ governments as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He served in the former West Germany at the close of the Cold War and personally removed a portion of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Close proximity to the Soviet and Warsaw Pact communist governments of the Cold War gave him a permanent desire to defend freedom against government tyranny.

The end of the Cold War and return to the States in the early 90s led him to see that many government abuses were taking hold in our country as well. Tony was also inspired to trade the military barracks for the courtroom by reading about abuses imposed by the IRS on American taxpayers, and well as the epic conflict between Wayne Hage and the U.S. Forest Service over grazing and water rights in the Western States.

Tony graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1996 with honors. After representing farmers, ranchers, and other landowners in private law practice and then for a decade as a policy advocate before the California legislature, Tony joined PLF in 2012. In his off hours, he enjoys martial arts, Giants baseball, reading history, and raising his family with his wife in Sacramento.

Donnelly v. City of San Marino

Holding local California governments accountable for banning “granny flats”

Accessory dwelling units, better known as “in-law apartments” or “granny flats,” have long been recognized as a valuable and essential component of California’s response to the state’s worsening housing shortage. So essential in fact, state law establishes a right to build ADUs, severely limiting local government ...

United States v. LaPant

Bureaucrats can’t rewrite the law just because they don’t like it

Jack LaPant thought that he had properly navigated all the necessary regulations under the federal Clean Water Act when he plowed his northern California farmland in 2011 to grow wheat. Multiple agencies said he did not need a permit; but in 2016, government bureaucrats sued Jack for not obtaining a permit, even though the Clean Water Act doesnR ...

Navigable Waters Cases

Fighting government’s make-believe, illegal definition of navigable waters

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has a seemingly simple purpose: protect the navigable waters of the United States from pollution. The federal agencies charged with carrying out and enforcing the law, however, have expanded the definition of “navigable waters” several times since the Act went on the books in 1972. Represented by PLF free of ch ...

Peter Stavrianoudakis, et al., v. United States Department of Fish & Wildlife and California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Falconry regulations run afoul of the Bill of Rights

Peter Stavrianoudakis is a longtime licensed falconer in California who just wants to do what people have been doing for thousands of years—raise and train falcons. But state and federal regulations have become so restrictive, he and fellow falconers around the country are left to choose between their falcons or their constitutional rights. Pacif ...

Timbs v. Indiana

Excessive Fines Clause applies to all governments

PLF has joined a crucial case brought by our allies at Institute for Justice to address a situation faced by many PLF clients—fines and forfeitures that far outweigh their alleged offenses. Tyson Timbs argues in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court that such disproportionate punishments by state and local governments violate the Eighth Amendment& ...

Gundy v. United States

Congress must do its own job—make laws

The Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws, but not to delegate that power to the Executive Branch. Doing so allows unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats to make rules in violation of the Non-Delegation doctrine. In Gundy, the U.S. Supreme Court will review whether Congress violated the Non-Delegation doctrine by empowering the Attorney ...

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June 04, 2020

The Daily Signal: Trump’s new ‘Navigable Waters’ rule is an improvement, but still murky

The Trump administration published this spring its new definition of "navigable waters" (also known as "waters of the United States") under the Clean Water Act. The long-awaited action reversed course on decades of bureaucratic overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency and by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA's partner in the abuse o ...

May 12, 2020

The Hill: Politicians seek relief for renters — but landlords have rights, too

State and local governments have closed businesses across the country in response to COVID-19, putting millions of Americans out of work. Right now, those Americans' biggest concerns are keeping a roof over their heads and feeding their families. Against that backdrop of economic anxiety, Sen. Barnie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted, "It is time to #CancelR ...

April 27, 2020

The Hill: Passive-aggressive EPA places couple in regulatory limbo

If government regulators tell a property owner what they can and can't do with their land, should the property owner be able to appeal to the courts? Most Americans would instinctively say "yes," since they grasp the principle that government officials should be held accountable to the people.   Unsurprisingly, many government regulators disagree ...

January 28, 2020

The Hill: The Army Corps of Engineers has become a rogue agency

In World War II, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played a proud role in the Allied victory over totalitarian aggression in Europe and the Pacific theater by building bridges, clearing beaches and harbors, and creating the conditions for military units to hit fast and hit hard. The Corps's resourcefulness, creativity and engineering expertise no ...

October 15, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency considers dirt in a farmers field pollution

When most people think about preventing water pollution, they probably picture sewage plants and factories, spilling gunk into a river or lake. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), overturned dirt in a farmer's field is technically the same thing as that noxious gunk: pollution. The CWA was ...

September 30, 2019

The Hill: Federal waters rule repeal: Much ado about (almost) nothing

This month, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) head Andrew Wheeler rescinded the infamous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation. This rule, a case study in EPA regulatory overreach, asserted federal government control under the Clean Water Act over millions of acres of private property across the country, based on the absurd the ...

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