Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton released statements calling for Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther to be released from jail after a judge sentenced her for violating the county's lockdown order for "non-essential" businesses.
The judge's decision had sparked widespread outrage as he said she was being selfish and gave her the opportunity to avoid jail time if she admitted she was wrong for opening before the county said it was okay.
Luther refused, saying, "I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am 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 being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I'm not going to shut the salon."
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.”— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) May 6, 2020
Release her now so she can return to her family. pic.twitter.com/67KrhQBEyf
"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," said Paxton. "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."
"I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by Dallas Judge, putting Shelby Luther in jail for seven days. As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texas for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option," Abbott said.
In addition to the week-long sentence, Luther was given a $7,000 fine.