Texas Supreme Court Orders Release of Jailed Salon Owner Shelly Luther

May 7, 2020 Updated: May 7, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court ordered the release of a Dallas hair salon owner who was jailed for violating the state’s stay-at-home mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shelly Luther, who is in custody at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas, received the public support of Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Paxton announced the state Supreme Court’s decision on Twitter, saying that “the petition for writ of habeas corpus remains pending before this court.”

State District Judge Eric Moye sentenced Luther to seven days in jail on contempt of court charges for disobeying a temporary restraining order that prevented her from operating her business.

“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 earlier this week after she was jailed.

salon owner Shelley Luther
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, salon owner Shelley Luther (C) listens to Dallas City officials as a reflection of a supporter filming them is seen from outside Luther’s reopened Salon A la Mode in Dallas, Texas, on April 24, 2020. (LM Otero/AP Photo)

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office told NBC5 that she would remain in jail until the office gets a copy of writ ordering Luther’s release.

Amid escalating controversy over Luther’s case, Abbott wrote on Twitter that he is “eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders … criminals shouldn’t be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place.”

Texas started allowing restaurants and retailers to reopen last week under limited capacity, but it won’t be until mid-May until barbershops and salons can open.

So far, Texas has recorded more than 34,000 CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases and more than 940 deaths, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

Luther, meanwhile, was cited last month for keeping her hair salon open despite state and local stay-at-home orders to keep businesses deemed nonessential closed.

“I couldn’t feed my family, and my stylists couldn’t feed their families,” Luther testified in court on Tuesday. She said she had applied for a federal loan but didn’t get it until Sunday.

“Feeding my kids is not selfish,” she told Judge Moye, according to news reports. “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.”

Moye then wrote that she defied the court in an “open” and “flagrant” manner. Luther also “expressed no contrition, remorse or regret” for keeping her business open, he claimed.

A GoFundMe page, which says Luther “is an American Hero” for deciding to “resist tyranny,” has raised more than $500,000 for her.