Shelley Luther, the Dallas hair salon owner who defied government mandates by reopening her business during the coronavirus shutdown, was sentenced on Tuesday to seven days in jail and ordered to pay $500 for each of the seven days her salon was open.
Dallas County Judge Eric Moye found Luther in violation of both criminal and civil contempt. He told Luther she might avoid jail time "if she admitted that she was wrong, that she was selfish, and that she should apologize to the elected officials whose orders she violated."
"I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish," Luther answered. "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 being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I'm not going to shut the salon."
Moye sentenced Luther to seven days in jail and a $7,000 fine.
On Wednesday, both Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called for Luther to be released.
"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," Paxton said in a statement.
Gov. Abbott released a statement agreeing with Paxton:
"I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days. As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option. Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety; however, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother."
Luther's attorney Warren Norred joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to discuss the case. He told Glenn that Luther is essentially being found guilty of not "bending the knee" and that he's never seen anything like this before.
"This is about heresy. This is not about rule of law," he said. "You [Luther] have stood before this court, and been found guilty of disrespect ... because politicians are passing laws by executive authority, instead of the standard normal procedure, which they're supposed to use. So they're not following the rule of law. But she's supposed to."
Asked what Luther was actually convicted of, Norred responded, "That's a good question. They say she's breaking what they're calling an ordinance. But it's the fourth amended emergency regulations, that's passed by nobody, but simply uttered by the mayor of Dallas. And he gets his authority, supposedly, by leaning on the county judge, Clay Jenkins, who gets his authority, supposedly, by leaning on the authority of the executive governor. So all of these people are passing, up and down, this nebulous authority."
Watch the video below to get Glenn's take:
Dallas salon owner ARRESTED for opening business? Coronavirus has made America UNRECOGNIZABLE youtu.be
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