The Texas Attorney General has called for the release of a salon owner who was sent to jail Tuesday for keeping her business operational despite a statewide stay-at-home order
According to a statement issued Wednesday, Attorney General Ken Paxton told Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé that he abused his power by jailing Shelley Luther for seven days. Luther testified that she kept Salon a La Mode open because she and her employees needed the money.
Luther was sent to jail the same day Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that hair salons can reopen Friday.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Luther reopened Salon a La Mode on April 24 — and publicly tore up a court-issued cease-and-desist letter the following day. Luther also defied a citation and a restraining order by keeping her salon open.
A Dallas code inspector and a Dallas police officer testified that they witnessed customers getting haircuts and manicures in a seven-day period despite orders from the court to close, according to The Texas Tribune.
Moyé wrote in his judgment that Luther defied the previous court order in an “open, flagrant, and intentional” manner. In addition to a weeklong jail sentence, Luther was fined $7,000 for keeping her nonessential business open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Moyé told Luther that he would consider fining Luther instead of ordering a seven-day jail sentence if she apologized for her actions. The salon owner refused.
“Feeding my kids is not selfish. 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 the salon,” Luther said, according to KTRK.
In light of Paxton’s statement admonishing Moyé’s order, Governor Abbott said he agreed with Paxton in calling for Luther’s release.
Abbott said in a statement issued to KTVT, “Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety; however, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother.”
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[Featured image: Shelley Luther/Dallas County Sheriff’s Department]