Criminal Defense Attorney

Burton J. Francis is a Fresno County criminal defense attorney who represents men, women and juveniles in all criminal matters in federal trial courts and in the courts of appeal. Starting out as a certified law student in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Mr. Francis returned to the practice of criminal law in 1988 when he joined the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office where he worked for approximately 24 years handling all levels of criminal cases. Among his many assignments, he served on the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault team twice, the second time as the senior member handling the most difficult cases and serving as an advisor to younger attorneys. Mr. Francis also restarted the Career Criminal Unit, serving as the lead attorney in cases involving those with long criminal histories. In addition, he was the acting Chief of the Juvenile Unit for the Fresno District Attorney, directing the litigation of all matters involving juvenile offenders in Fresno County and training those attorneys assigned to the unit. Mr. Francis has an extensive knowledge of the law of homicide, having served twice on the Homicide Unit for the Fresno County District Attorney. On those assignments he handled many high profile cases including the Carrillo Bar massacre - one of the worst mass murder cases in Fresno County history, the California State University, Fresno ‘Playstation’ murder case, and the notorious Tarpey Double-stabbing murder in Clovis. He was one of the first in Fresno County to handle gang allegations under Penal Code 186.22 and continues to be involved in those cases where gang allegations are prominent. He has also had extensive experience in handling murder and other cases where DNA evidence has been a central issue such as when he successfully prosecuted the first 'cold hit' DNA rape in Fresno County.

Client Testimonials

  • Burton Francis Esq. represented me in a very complex hi-stakes legal matter that had both civil and criminal components. His representation at all times was thoroughly and refreshingly honest and compassionate. This is a man who cares about people and who is more interested in truth and justice than billable hours. Mr. Francis has served a long career as a prosecutor working with some of the worst cases one might ever see and consequently he has a nose for the truth and a passion for the right to have it heard.

  • We prevailed thanks to his dogged determination and experience. And throughout it all he was an absolute gentleman who treated me with respect and who always listened to me. I owe my life to this man, and if you need representation and have a chance to get help from Mr. Francis, don’t think twice. Thank you Mr. Francis, words cannot express nor money adequately compensate you for the difference you have made in my life. I will be forever grateful to you and I stand 100% behind this statement.

Education & Certifications

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California


Awards - Burton J. Francis

Elsner Prize

University of California, 1980

Appellate Advocacy Professor's Select Assistant

Golden Gate University School of Law, 1983-1984

Prosecutor of the Year, 1990

Central Valley Arson Investigators

Instructor: Worker's Comp Fraud, 2001

California District Attorneys Association

Trial Advocacy Objections, 2004

California District Attorneys Association