Texas Salon Owner To Be Released
by Shari Dovale
Shelly Luther is the brave salon owner in Texas that stood up to the government and has prevailed.
Luther was forced to shut down her hair salon in Dallas Texas amid the coronavirus panicdemic. It took about a month for her to run out of money and start worrying about feeding her children. Additionally, she had 19 other stylists that were also worried about how they would feed their families.
Shelly Luther decided to open her salon in defiance of the Texas government rules to the contrary.
First she was given a cease and desist letter, which she tore up on camera. Then came the restraining order, which she ignored. Luther vowed not to close her business, Salon À la Mode, despite the hard-nosed tactics employed by overzealous government officials.
Tuesday, Luther was arrested and faced down the overreaching judge, basically telling him that he can do what he needs to do because she did nothing wrong.
“I have much respect for this court and laws. I have never been in this position before and it’s not someplace that I want to be,” Luther responded. “But I have to disagree with you sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids — is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with you decision but I am not going to shut the salon.”
The judge responded by sentencing her to seven days in jail for criminal and civil contempt and a $7,000 fine for defying Governor Greg Abbott’s stay-at-home rules.
The self described Democrat activist judge, Eric Moye, sentenced her during the same time frame that about a thousand inmates have been released from the Dallas County jail, to help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 inside the facility.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick jumped in and vowed to pay the $7,000 fine being demanded, and also offered to serve home arrest in her place if the judge would just let her out of jail.
“7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous,” Patrick tweeted on Wednesday. “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.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to the judge stating he abused his authority by putting Luther in jail for opening her salon to feed her family.
“I find it outrageous and out of touch that during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting COVID-19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family’s table,” Paxton said in a statement. “The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther. His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released a statement Wednesday, agreeing with Paxton.
“I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days,” Abbott said. As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option. 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.”
Let’s not forget, however, that it was Governor Abbott’s executive orders that were the basis for Luther’s arrest.
A Gofundme was set up to help her and raise $500,000 in about a day.
State Rep. Briscoe Cain:
“Hairstylists and the cosmetology industry don’t have a lot of lobbyists in the Capitol advocating for them, whereas maybe the big-box stores and large restaurant chains do and sadly they were overlooked when this should have been an industry that was opened first, because of how regulated they are and the health standards they have to comply with,” state Rep. Briscoe Cain said, according to Fox 26 Houston.
He was joined by Rep. Steve Toth in his act of civil disobedience.
Abbott this week moved up the timeline for hair salons, barbershops and tanning salons to open to Friday after they were initially slotted to reopen in mid-May under the state’s plan to get its economy going again.
And today, the Supreme Court of Texas ordered Luther’s release.
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