A salon owner who defied a state- and county-ordered coronavirus shutdown was ordered to serve a week behind bars and pay a fine, was ordered to be RELEASED, and jail time was removed for all similar charges.
But she will walk free Thursday after the Supreme Court of Texas has ordered the release of Shelley Luther in a special ruling.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also modified his orders concerning COVID-19 shutdown, to remove the confinement as a punishment for businesses opening before restrictions are lifted. Abbott’s modification is retroactive to April 2 and supersedes local orders.
Shelley Luther should immediately be released from jail. Locking her up is a misguided abuse of power, especially considering Dallas County released real criminals to “protect them from COVID-19.”
Release her now so she can return to her family. pic.twitter.com/67KrhQBEyf
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) May 6, 2020
Original report: Shelley Luther, owner of Salon À La Mode in Dallas, reopened her salon on April 24 after non-essential businesses were told to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reported.
But a judge found her criminally and civilly in contempt of court for reopening her business.
7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. No surprise Texans are responding. I’m covering the $7K fine she had to pay and I volunteer to be placed under House Arrest so she can go to work and feed her kids. #txlege #TexansHelpingTexans https://t.co/gdtMLAHFV5
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 6, 2020
City officials filed a restraining order against Luther. Luther continued to open her business for seven days after the order was issued. The judge said she could avoid the week in jail if she closed her shop. He also told her to apologize to officials to whom she didn’t listen.
Luther said she will not comply and has no regrets.
Luther’s salon had been closed since March 24 and he was cited for reopening the business on April 24. During an April 25 protest in Frisco, Texas, she ripped up a cease-and-desist letter sent by a judge, the Times reported.
The judge who handed down Luther’s sentence said she was being selfish for reopening her business, but she disagreed.
“I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish,” Luther said, according to the Times. “So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I am not going to shut down the salon.”
Luther was sentenced to a week in jail and fined at least $3,500, the Times reported.
If her salon opens before the stay-at-home order takes effect Friday, then she faces an additional $500 fine a day for each day her shop operates, according to KTVT.