‘7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous…’
UPDATE 2:45 p.m. Thursday from KTVT-TV in Dallas: “The Supreme Court of Texas has ordered the release of Dallas salon owner, Shelly Luther, who was jailed for violating executive stay at home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic…The jail is expected to release her Thursday afternoon.”
EARLIER UPDATE: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott modified his executive order on Thursday morning, to prevent incarceration as punishment for violation of his COVID-19 restrictions. He released a statement in announcing the change:
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. That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order. This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther. It may also ensure that other Texans like Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata who were arrested in Laredo, should not be subject to confinement. As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: (Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Concerned citizens have raised more than $500,000 for the Dallas salon owner who was sentenced to seven days in jail and fined $7,000 for reopening her salon.
The GoFundMe page describes Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon a la Mode, as an “American Hero” who resisted “tyranny by opening her business against an unlawful state executive order.”
All contributions to the fund will directly support Luther and “the idea that our founders put in writing gin the Constitution,” the GoFundMe page states.
Luther reopened her salon on April 25 despite Texas’s shelter-in-place order.
A county judge handed her a cease-and-desist letter and ordered her to close her salon, but Luther refused, arguing that it “isn’t a crime to make a living.”
In response, she was sentenced to a week in prison and fined $500 for every day her salon remained open in violation of the law.
Luther’s case drew the attention of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, both of whom demanded she be released from prison immediately. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also announced that he would pay Luther’s $7,000 fine, calling the judge’s response “over the top.”
7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. 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. #txlege #TexansHelpingTexans https://t.co/gdtMLAHFV5
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 6, 2020
Paxton said her arrest seems more like a “political stunt” than a legitimate attempt to protect community members’ health.
“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.