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.

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 ...

Waters of the United States

Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court victory for PLF and property rights

In 2015 PLF challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to stretch federal control to nearly every pond, ditch, and puddle in the nation as nothing more than an outrageous—and illegal—power grab under cover of the Clean Water Act. And under the Act, people who are harmed by such rules have six years to sue in federal di ...

Weyerhaeuser/Markle v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Supreme Court hears “phantom frog” case

As a child, Edward Poitevent’s family cut down Christmas trees on their lumber-rich land in Louisiana, and one day he’d like to leave the property to his own children. But federal bureaucrats jeopardized his legacy when they declared nearly 1,500 acres of his family’s private land as a critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog— ...

California Cattlemen’s Association v. California Fish and Game Commission

Wandering lone wolf in California triggers “endangered” listing

Based on the sighting of a lone non-native gray wolf in California, the state Fish and Game Commission listed the gray wolf species under the California Endangered Species Act, effective January 1, 2017. On behalf of the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and their members, PLF sued to invalidate this i ...

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February 01, 2019

Judges should not let bureaucrats dictate the meaning of the law

Our nation's government was structured to ensure that each of the three branches—legislative, judicial, and executive—would be subject to checks and balances with one another. This ingenious interlocking system was intended to ensure accountability and limit abuses of power. But, in recent years, the rise of unchecked power on the part of execu ...

January 16, 2019

Why homeless “right to shelter” bill is a recipe for disappointment

Originally published by The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 16, 2019. There's no question California communities are struggling with a crisis of homelessness that needs solving. But one of the most prominent legislative solutions on offer — the "right to shelter" bill (Senate Bill 48) by state Sen. Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco — is an example ...

December 20, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency Is Protecting The Swamp

Originally published in The Daily Caller, December 20, 2018. One of Donald Trump's first presidential actions was telling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise the agency's Obama-era Clean Water Act "navigable waters" definition. It was a welcome reform to a particularly abusive and controversial regulatory overreach. But on December ...

December 13, 2018

Joe Robertson’s Clean Water Act case draws friends at Supreme Court

This week six friend of the court briefs were filed asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Joe Robertson's Clean Water Act case. Robertson, a 77-year-old Navy veteran in the small town of Basin, Montana, was unjustly convicted of Clean Water Act violations for digging firefighting ponds to protect his property. The prosecution turned on ...

December 13, 2018

President Trump tells EPA to drain the swamp; EPA says “not so much”

PLF client John Duarte joined the crew on Fox and Friends this morning to talk about being prosecuted by the Justice Department and the Department of the Army under the Clean Water Act, merely for plowing his company's farm: The five-year ordeal culminated in Duarte Nursery settling with the government for $1.1 million to avoid ...

November 08, 2018

How to find out if the EPA’s ‘navigable waters’ regulations affect you

In light of Joe Robertson's appeal of his Clean Water Act conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, readers might be wondering if any foot-wide ditches on their property are also "navigable," as the EPA imaginatively re-interprets that word. As it turns out, the answer depends on what state you live in. Here's what you need ...