A Texas hair salon owner has been freed from jail in Dallas where she was sentenced to seven days confinement after defying a state-wide executive order by opening her salon. Shelley Luther made national headlines this week when she opted to go to jail rather than close her salon and apologize to the court for being "selfish" and disrespectful.
Dallas Judge Eric Moye insisted that Shelley behaved in an unacceptable manner by defying an order from the governor and from the court when she refused to close her doors. Despite practicing strict social distancing and following all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of her clients and staff, Luther was ordered to pay a $7,000 fine and remain in jail after being held in contempt of the court.
Luther declined the apology to Moye and the court saying her actions were in the interest of providing for her family and keeping her employees on the clock. She further refused to close her salon.
"Feeding my kids is not selfish," Luther said on Tuesday. "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 being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I'm not going to shut the salon."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General all condemned Moye's decision and called for her immediate release from jail. On Thursday, Abbott revised his executive order to state that no business owners in violation of the "nonessential" business closure mandate could be jailed.
"Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Gov. Abbott wrote. “That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order."
The state Supreme Court ordered Luther's release moments later and early Thursday evening, she was freed from the Dallas jail. Luther was greeted by supporters shouting, "Shelley free!" and choruses of "God Bless America," as she exited the jail, tearfully thanking those that rallied for her freedom throughout the ordeal. When asked whether she thought her time in jail was worth her moral stand, she confirmed that it was.
Shelley Luther just walked out jail and broke down in tears: pic.twitter.com/LTuyPIuFJf— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 7, 2020