Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was ordered to jail for seven days after not complying with Governor Greg Abbott’s lockdown orders. Now, the state Supreme Court has ordered her release.
Release from JAIL ordered under request for emergency relief while Supreme Court considers Luther's petition. Response due by 4 p.m. Monday.
— Chuck Lindell (@chucklindell) May 7, 2020
Throwing Texans in jail whose biz's shut down through no fault of their own is wrong.
I am eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders.
Criminals shouldn’t be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 7, 2020
As we discussed in the latest episode of the NOQ Report Podcast, Luther was given the opportunity by the judge to avoid her sentence is she would only apologize for being “selfish” and admit that she was wrong to open her salon and allow her employees to come back to work ahead of the state’s reopen orders. Her reply was not what the judge wanted.
“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,” Luther said. “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,” she continued. “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.”
She has become a symbol for those opposed to the lockdowns happening across the country as business owners and employees struggle to make a living. She defied the orders, going so far as to rip them up at a rally after they were delivered to her by law enforcement.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick offered to pay for her $7000 fine and even allow himself to serve her sentence under house arrest to allow her to continue working. Then, a GoFundMe campaign began that was able to raise $500,000 for the jailed salon owner. Now, it appears she will be going home early.
Protests have been happening across the country to oppose the draconian mandates being put forth by local governments. President Trump has issued guidance that calls for social distancing, the use of face masks, and stay-at-home recommendations for non-essential businesses, but many states and cities have taken those recommendations too far.
Less than a month ago, the very jail in which Luther was supposed to serve her sentence was busy releasing 1000 inmates to ease crowding. As a result, people who committed actual crimes are free while a business owner trying to feed her family is still behind bars.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed 42 positive cases of COVID-19 in inmates. That’s 30 more than were reported this past week. Another 16 detention officers and deputies have contracted the virus, although two of those officers have returned to work.
About a thousand inmates have been released from the Dallas County jail to help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 inside the facility. Inmate advocacy groups applaud the move, but still have concerns
It’s wonderful news that Shelley Luther will be going home soon and that the community has rallied behind her to the tune of half-a-million dollars. But it doesn’t change the reality that she should never have been jailed when real criminals are being released.
Check out the NEW NOQ Report Podcast.