Texas Supreme Court orders release of jailed hair salon owner
The Texas Supreme Court Thursday ordered the release of Dallas hair salon owner Shelly Luther who was jailed after she continued to operate her business despite shutdown orders that were in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Luther, wearing a face mask, later walked out of a Dallas jail toward a crowd chanting her name.
Texas Attorney General, who has been critical of the jail sentence, praised the court’s order.
“No Texan should face imprisonment for peacefully resisting an order that temporarily closed a lawful business and drastically limited their ability to provide for their family through no fault of their own,” he said.
“Texans must all work together to overcome this crisis, and ensuring freedom from excessive punishment is critical.”
The order came hours after Gov. Greg Abbott removed jail as punishment for violating state coronavirus restrictions.
Luther has become a rallying point for conservatives who are balking at business closings ordered to stem the spread of the virus.
A judge in Dallas found Luther in contempt of court and sentenced her Tuesday to seven days in jail.
Luther says she had to reopen her Dallas salon because she wouldn't have been able feed her kids otherwise.
But Judge Eric Moye says Luther expressed no “contrition, remorse or regret” for her actions.
Luther was jailed on Tuesday afternoon, around the same time Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced salons and barbershops can reopen Friday.
She ripped up a cease and desist order during a protest of the business shutdown.