The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the release of Shelly Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was sent to jail for violating the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order.
State District Judge Eric Moyé on Tuesday sentenced the owner of the Salon A La Mode to seven days behind bars for “disobeying a judge’s temporary restraining order prohibiting her from operating her salon,” according to CBS-DFW.
The judge told Luther that her actions were “selfish,” The Center Square reports.
The small business owner replied, “… feeding my kids is not selfish. So, sir, if you think the law’s more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I am not going to shut the salon.”
The exchange between Judge Moyé and Luther – posted online almost immediately – went viral.
The judge told Shelley Luther she
could avoid jail time if she apologized, admitted she was wrong, and agreed to close her hair salon until it was allowed to open.
— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) May 5, 2020
Heavy.com reports that Moyé is a “politically active Democrat” who has served on many Democratic campaigns and even acted as a Delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
On March 31, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot issued a stay-at-home executive order amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A clause in the order stated that anyone who didn’t comply with this order could be jailed. However, Abbot, who supported Luther, decided to change the clause Thursday morning.
“Throwing Texans in jail whose biz’s shut down through no fault of their own is wrong. I am eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders”, the governor tweeted. “Criminals shouldn’t be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place.”
Throwing Texans in jail whose biz's shut down through no fault of their own is wrong.
I am eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders.
Criminals shouldn’t be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 7, 2020
When Luther went to jail, she also received support from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who offered to serve her remaining sentence under house arrest and pay her $7,000 fine. Furthermore, a gofundme account was set in support of Luther. This account has raised over $500,000 so far.
“Shelley Luther is an American Hero that has decided to resist tyranny by opening her business against an unlawful State Executive Order,” the GoFundme page says.
Paxton released a statement commending the court for releasing Luther.
“The Texas Supreme Court correctly addressed Ms. Luther’s excessive punishment and unnecessary jailing. No Texan should face imprisonment for peacefully resisting an order that temporarily closed a lawful business and drastically limited their ability to provide for their family through no fault of their own,” he said. “Texans must all work together to overcome this crisis, and ensuring freedom from excessive punishment is critical.”
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at zschmid[email protected]