A small business owner in Texas has been sprung from jail today after an incredibly engrossing bit of legal drama that caught the nation’s attention.
Shelley Luther, a Dallas-based hair salon owner, had previously been arrested for violating the Lone Star State’s lockdown order by a few days. Luther appeared in court earlier this week and was offered a reduced, fine-only sentence if she was willing to apologize for her actions. Instead, the small business owner railed against the “draconian” lockdown order itself, and said that she would not apologize for attempting to make money to feed her family.
Today, Luther walked free.
The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of salon owner Shelley Luther, who was jailed for opening in violation of the state’s rules, as Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order retroactively eliminating jail time as a consequence for violating the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
Shortly after Abbott’s announcement, the Supreme Court of Texas ordered Luther’s release. She was released from jail Thursday afternoon.
The Governor appeared to side with Luther in a statement.
“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said in a statement. “That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order. This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.”
On Wednesday, Abbott, the state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick called for Luther’s release after she was jailed by Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moyé. The officials said he had abused his discretion and emphasized that the woman was keeping her business open in order to feed her family.
The legality and morality of these lockdown orders has been tested time and again by protesters and obstinate business owners like in recent weeks, with additional, similar scuffle sure to come.
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