Texas salon owner Shelley Luther ordered freed by state Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that a Dallas hair salon owner who was jailed for opening in violation of the state’s coronavirus rules be freed.

The salon owner, Shelley Luther, was jailed by Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moyé, but will be released following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order retroactively eliminating jail time for violating the state’s coronavirus restrictions, Fox News reported.

“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,” Abbott said in a statement on Twitter.

“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.”

A lawyer for Luther, who was with her at the jail, said they don’t know when she will be freed.

On Wednesday, Abbott, state Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick called for Luther’s release.

The officials said Moyé had abused his discretion and emphasized that Luther was keeping her business open so she could feed her family.

“As a mother, Ms. Luther wanted to feed her children,” Paxton said in a letter to the judge asking him to free her.

“As a small business owner, she wanted to help her employees feed their children. Needless to say, these are laudable goals that warrant the exercise of enforcement discretion.”

Paxton praised the governor for making sure that people would not be jailed for violating ting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

“I applaud Gov. Abbott’s decision to ensure that penalties for violating public health orders are reasonable and not excessive. All Texans are trying to get through this crisis together and no one should be put in jail unnecessarily,” he said.

After her arrest for operating her Salon à la Mode in violation of Abbott’s executive order, Luther was given three choices by the judge.

She could offer an apology for selfishness, pay a fine and shut down until Friday, or serve jail time.

“I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish,” a defiant Luther told the judge.

“I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they would rather feed their kids. So sir, 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.”

Moye, a longtime Democratic activist, has a history of making controversial statements — and once accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of being disloyal to the civil rights movement and African-Americans in general.

Moye told the authors of “Supreme Discomfort, The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas,” which was excerpted in The Washington Post in 2007, that Thomas fell short of “expectations” of him, denouncing him for being an African American conservative.

“In order to have disappointment you have to have high expectations. I think there were those who hoped he was going to blossom and develop. But I don’t think you know many African Americans, other than those who know him personally, who think he turned out all right,” said Moye, who is also African-American.

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