by WorldTribune Staff, May 6, 2020
The owner of a Dallas salon who said she had to keep her business open in order to feed her children has been sentenced to seven days in jail for defying the state’s coronavirus lockdown order.
Shelley Luther, who owns Salon a la Mode, reopened her business on April 30. Because salons were not deemed as “essential” businesses, Luther was cited for violating Texas’s statewide coronavirus lockdown.
The City of Dallas issued Luther a citation, followed by a cease-and-desist letter and a restraining order from the county.
But Luther continued to operate her business. She said she was behind on her mortgage along with several of the 19 stylists who work at her salon, and that the government did not have the right to prohibit citizens from working to provide for their families.
On Tuesday, Dallas Civil District Judge Eric Moye, who issued the restraining order, found Luther both criminally and civilly in violation of his order, according to WFAA-TV. She was also found to be in violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s stay-at-home order.
Moye sentenced Luther to seven days in jail and a $7,000 fine.
According to KTVT-TV, the judge told Luther he would consider not giving her jail time if she would agree to close until the governor’s order was lifted and “if she admitted that she was wrong, that she was selfish, and that she should apologize to the elected officials whose orders she violated.”
Luther told the judge: “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 your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, tweeted his support for Luther: “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.”
The office of Attorney General Ken Paxton told Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moyé in a letter sent Wednesday that he abused his discretion when he “unjustly jailed” Shelly Luther for seven days.
Abbott on Tuesday announced that all Texas hair salons, nail salons, and tanning salons may reopen on Friday, May 8.