The top attorney in Texas called for the release of a jailed hair salon owner who reopened her shop despite state orders, and issued a blistering rebuke of a judge’s apparent political “stunt.”
Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon a la Mode, was arrested and sentenced to seven days in jail and fined for disobeying Gov. Greg Abbot’s stay-at-home order. The arrest drew national attention and stinging criticism for judicial overreach, perhaps best illustrated in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s statement.
“The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther,” Paxton wrote, according to NBC DFW. “His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas.”
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Paxton called her sentencing “outrageous” considering that Dallas County “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.”
Abbot agreed with Paxton that the judge in the case took “excessive action.”
Judge Eric Moye told Luther that she would not be given jail time as long as she admitted she was wrong. He told her that she must “take this opportunity to acknowledge that your actions were selfish putting your own interests ahead of those of the community in which you live.”
She responded, “I have much respect for this court and laws. I have never been in this position before and it’s not someplace that I want to be. But I have to disagree with you sir, when you say that I’m 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 getting fed, then please go ahead with you decision but I am not going to shut the salon.”
Moye’s office did not immediately respond to NBC DFW for comment.
The owner’s response went viral and a GoFundMe page was created that originally sought to raise $250,000. By Wednesday afternoon, $350,000 was raised.