Texas Attorney General: Jailing Salon Owner Was a ‘Shameful Abuse’

Salon owner Shelley Luther adjusts her hair while listening to a question after she was cited by City of Dallas officials for reopening her Salon A la Mode in Dallas, Friday, April 24, 2020. Hair salons have not been cleared for reopening in Texas. Luther was asked by officials to …
AP File Photo/LM Otero

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton called the jailing of a Dallas salon owner “excessive” and a “shameful abuse” as they called for her to release. A district court judge ordered the salon owner and mother jailed for seven days for re-opening her salon during the Coronavirus lockdown imposed by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

“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,” Attorney General Paxton said in a written statement on Wednesday. “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 District Court Judge Eric Moyé ordered Luther to jail for seven days beginning on Tuesday evening for contempt of court, Breitbart Texas reported. During a contempt hearing held on Zoom, the judge offered Luther the opportunity to apologize to elected officials “she disrespected” in order to stay out of jail.

Judge Moyé said she must see the errors of her ways and “understand that the society cannot function where one’s own belief in a concept of liberty permits you to flaunt your disdain for the rulings of duly elected officials.”

“That you owe an apology to the elected officials who you disrespected by flagrantly ignoring, and in one case defiling, their orders you now know obviously apply to you,” Moyé lectured. “That you understand that the proper way in which an ordered society to engage concerns that you might have had is to hire a lawyer and advocate for change an exception or an amendment to laws that you find offensive.”

Governor Abbott followed up, saying, “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 replied to Moyé  during the conference, “I have to disagree with you sir when you that I’m selfish [for re-opening the salon].” Salon Á la Mode owner Shelly Luther told Judge Eric Moyé during a contempt of court proceeding broadcast on the internet and tweeted by CBSDFW reporter Andrea Lucia, “because feeding my kids is not selfish.”

Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz expressed his concern over the Dallas judge’s action. “7 days in jail for cutting hair??? This is NUTS,” the junior senator from Texas tweeted. “And government officials don’t get to order citizens to apologize to them for daring to earn a living.”

A spokesperson for Luther’s attorney’s office, Norred Law, told Breitbart Texas they plan to file a writ of habeas corpus on Luther’s behalf with the Texas Supreme Court later on Wednesday. The spokesperson said they have not been allowed to speak with Luther and do not know her current condition or situation in the jail.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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