Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he intends to pay the $7,000 fine imposed on a salon owner who reopened her business last month in defiance of the statewide lockdown, one of a number of business owners who have reopened in recent weeks.
Patrick also said he would serve home confinement if local officials release the woman, Shelley Luther, from prison.
Luther reopened Salon a la Mode in Dallas on April 24. She was cited by local police before being brought before a judge on Tuesday.
Told she could avoid jail time if she apologized and admitted she was selfish, Luther declined and said she started serving customers again to make money to feed her children.
Dallas County Judge Eric Moye sentenced her to seven days in prison and levied the fine.
After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called for Luther’s immediate release, Patrick said in a statement that he was covering the $7,000 fine.
“I volunteer to be placed under house arrest so she can go to work and feed her kids,” he added.
Patrick said Luther should be with her children on Mother’s Day, which takes place on Sunday. He also took aim at Moye, the judge.
“This judge showed no mercy and he showed no compassion,” he said during an appearance on “Fox News @ Night.” Moye could have levied a small fine and a suspended jail sentence, he said.
“What this judge did was a total disgrace,” he said, adding later, “If he’s a man, he’ll step up tomorrow or Friday, before Mother’s Day … and let her out of jail.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement that putting people in jail for violating his lockdown order should have been “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.