On Tuesday, Shelley Luther, a mother and small business owner in Dallas, Texas, was sentenced to seven days in jail and ordered to pay a $7,000 fine, For opening her hair salon in defiance of local shutdown orders.
“Feeding my kids is not selfish,” she defiantly told the judge. “I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So, sir, so 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.”
On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement calling for her immediate release. “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,” he said. “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.”
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
Governor Greg Abbott quickly followed suit, “I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days. 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.”
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 6, 2020
Governor Abbott had announced earlier this week that hair salons and barbershops would be able to reopen on Friday, May 8.
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