Texas Hair Salon owner Shelley Luther reopened the ‘Salon A La Mode’ in Dallas on April 24. Because it ‘wasn’t time’ for her to do that under the lockdown orders, she was immediately hit with a citation, a “cease and desist” order, then a temporary restraining order demanding she close her business. She continued to keep her business open in defiance of several court orders, even tearing one up at a protest the day after she opened. Judge Eric Moyé sentenced her to a week in jail and $500 per day for every day her shop was open. Two US lawmakers as well as the Texas Attorney General, Lt Governor, and Governor slammed the judge’s decision.
The case was fast-tracked to the Texas Supreme Court, which ordered Shelley Luther’s immediate release on Thursday, and Governor Greg Abbott signed an Executive Order banning anyone from jail time for violating lockdown orders (Fox).
“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.” Governor Greg Abbott
The court documents from May 5 stated:
On April 29, 2020, Defendants, despite having been served with the Order, refused to cease operations of the Salon … Several customers of the Salon were present each day, receiving the services of the Salon … The refusal of the Defendants to cease operation of the Salon, despite the clear and unambiguous language which instructed them to do so constitutes criminal contempt of this Court. The defiance of the Court’s Order was open, flagrant, and intentional. The Defendants, although having been given an opportunity to do so, have expressed no contrition, remorse or regret for their contemptuous action.
Whose action is more ‘contemptuous,’ Shelley Luther or the court?
Judge Moyé called her “selfish” and offered Ms. Luther the option to go free if she “apologized” to officials and agreed to shut her business. She refused.
“Judge, I would like to say that I have much respect for this court and laws and that 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 your decision but I am not going to shut the salon.” Shelley Luther
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Texas Rep Dan Crenshaw weighed in on the judge’s decision:
7 days in jail for cutting hair?? This is NUTS. And government officials don’t get to order citizens to apologize to them for daring to earn a living. https://t.co/3rulRlN0gE
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 6, 2020
These punishments are NOT just. They are not reasonable. Small-minded “leaders” across the country have become drunk with power. This must end. https://t.co/d31aEZg8b4
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) May 6, 2020
“Small-minded leaders across the county have become drunk with power.” Dan Crenshaw.
Texas AG Ken Paxton stated:
“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. 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.” Texas AG Ken Paxton
Texas Lt Governor Dan Patrick said he would be payingTexas hair salon owner Luther’s $7000 fine and even volunteered to serve her sentence, although she was already in custody. Hair salons and barber shops are set to reopen on May 8, with some restrictions, which will end the fine.
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
Judge Moye is a life-long Democrat and has been a judge for 25 years, according to Heavy.com. Was the sentence political?
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) May 6, 2020
This Texas hair salon owner has become a hero of sorts. Her story has gone viral, making the gamut of everything from Fox to Daily Wire, to local Texas news outlets like the Dallas Morning News. The officials in charge of Texas should have seen this coming from lockdowns that took out small businesses like hair salons. Allowing the government- any government – to decide what is “essential” and what is not was a foolish idea in the first place. All businesses are essential to those who own them: taking their customers and livelihoods away was destined to cause problems.
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