Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said on Wednesday he is covering the $7,000 fine of the Dallas salon owner who was sentenced to seven days in jail for reopening her shop in violation of stay-at-home orders, and he volunteered to “be placed under House Arrest so she can go to work and feed her kids.”
“7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. No surprise Texans are responding,” Patrick said on Wednesday.
“I’m covering the $7K fine she had to pay and I volunteer to be placed under House Arrest so she can go to work and feed her kids,” he added:
7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. No surprise Texans are responding. I’m covering the $7K fine she had to pay and I volunteer to be placed under House Arrest so she can go to work and feed her kids. #txlege #TexansHelpingTexans https://t.co/gdtMLAHFV5
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 6, 2020
Salon Á la Mode owner Shelley Luther refused to apologize on Tuesday for reopening her salon despite government orders, telling Judge Eric Moyé during a contempt of court proceeding, “I have hairstylists 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,” she stated:
The judge told Shelley Luther she
could avoid jail time if she apologized, admitted she was wrong, and agreed to close her hair salon until it was allowed to open.
— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) May 5, 2020
A district court judge ordered Luther jailed for seven days and imposed a hefty fine, prompting a response from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who called for Luther’s immediate release and described the judge’s order as a “shameful abuse of judicial discretion.”
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.”
Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who announced this week that businesses, including salons and barbershops, would be able to open Friday, May 8, agreed with the attorney general, criticizing the judge’s “excessive action”:
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,” he added.