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Dallas salon owner who refused to close her store during the pandemic WALKS FREE from prison

The Dallas salon owner who refused to close her store during the pandemic walked free from prison Thursday afternoon two days into her sentence, after Texas Governor Greg Abbott amended his executive order and the Texas Supreme Court ordered her release. 

Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon A La Mode in Dallas, was sentenced to seven days in jail on Tuesday for refusing to shut down her business in accordance with stay-at-home orders.

The move sparked an outcry from senior state officials and anti-lockdown protesters who demanded the mother be freed from custody. 

Luther walked out of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas Thursday afternoon, where she was serving her sentence in isolation and protective custody, to a hero’s welcome crowds of supporters who had gathered demanding her release. 

Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon A La Mode in Dallas who refused to close her store during the pandemic, walked free from prison Thursday afternoon

The salon owner is pictured walking out of the jail Thursday two days into her seven-day sentence

The salon owner is pictured walking out of the jail Thursday two days into her seven-day sentence

Crowds cheered ‘Shelley’s free!’ and clapped as she stepped out of the jail, with many waving banners and holding balloons. 

The emotional salon owner choked back tears as she thanked the crowds and said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by their support.

Her release came after the Supreme Court waded in to the controversial matter and ordered she be set free. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott amended his executive order Thursday morning, removing the possibility for citizens to be imprisoned for violating stay-at-home orders. 

His amendment applied to sentencing dating back until April 2.  

The governor had slammed the State District Judge Eric Moyé’s decision to imprison Luther and called for her to be released. 

Luther walked out of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas Thursday afternoon, where she was serving her sentence in isolation and protective custody, to cheers and clapping from crowds of supporters

Luther walked out of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas Thursday afternoon, where she was serving her sentence in isolation and protective custody, to cheers and clapping from crowds of supporters

Luther hugs supporters gathered outside the jail where she has been in isolation for two days

Luther hugs supporters gathered outside the jail where she has been in isolation for two days 

Luther walked out of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas Thursday afternoon, where she was serving her sentence in isolation and protective custody, to cheers and clapping from crowds of supporters

Luther walked out of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas Thursday afternoon, where she was serving her sentence in isolation and protective custody, to cheers and clapping from crowds of supporters

‘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,’ he said in a statement. 

‘That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order.’

Abbott named the salon owner in the announcement saying his order ‘supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.’

He also called for the release of two other women – Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata – who were arrested in Laredo accused of providing cosmetic treatments inside their homes.

‘As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place,’ he said.

Abbott was one of a number of senior state officials who condemned the judge’s decision to imprison Luther.   

Protesters gathered outside the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in downtown Dallas Thursday where Luther was being held

Protesters gathered outside the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in downtown Dallas Thursday where Luther was being held

Supporters held up banners Thursday calling for the release of jailed salon owner Shelley Luther Thursday

Supporters held up banners Thursday calling for the release of jailed salon owner Shelley Luther Thursday

The salon owner's imprisonment sparked an outcry from senior state officials and anti-lockdown protesters who demanded the mother be freed from custody

The salon owner’s imprisonment sparked an outcry from senior state officials and anti-lockdown protesters who demanded the mother be freed from custody

Supporters gathered outside the Justice Center to welcome Luther on her release. Luther also gained support from several senior state officials who condemned the judge's decision to imprison her

Supporters gathered outside the Justice Center to welcome Luther on her release. Luther also gained support from several senior state officials who condemned the judge’s decision to imprison her 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton penned a scathing letter to Judge Moyé Wednesday, stating he ‘abused his authority’ by putting Luther in jail and demanding her ‘immediate release.’  

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick offered his support, saying he would cover the salon owner’s fines.

Luther also gained support from the ‘Open Texas’ activists behind the anti-lockdown protests, with an organizer setting up a GoFundMe page which has raised more than $500,000.  

Protesters were pictured gathering outside the Dallas Municipal Court building Wednesday calling for Luther’s release.

An emotional Luther hugged people in the crowds after her release Thursday. Texas Governor Abbott amended his executive order Thursday morning, removing the possibility for citizens to be imprisoned for violating the state's stay-at-home orders and calling for Luther's release

An emotional Luther hugged people in the crowds after her release Thursday. Texas Governor Abbott amended his executive order Thursday morning, removing the possibility for citizens to be imprisoned for violating the state’s stay-at-home orders and calling for Luther’s release

An emotional Luther huge a man in the crowd after her release Thursday

An emotional Luther huge a man in the crowd after her release Thursday 

Paxton praised the Supreme Court’s intervention Thursday. 

‘The Texas Supreme Court correctly addressed Ms. Luther’s excessive punishment and unnecessary jailing,’ he said.

‘No Texan should face imprisonment for peacefully resisting an order that temporarily closed a lawful business and drastically limited their ability to provide for their family through no fault of their own.’  

Moyé sentenced Luther Tuesday to seven days behind bars and handed her a fine of $7,000 – $500 for each day she opened her business’s doors – after she repeatedly defied stay-at-home restrictions and court orders to shutter her business amid the pandemic. 

Moyé said he found her in criminal and civil contempt of court and told the stylist she owed local leaders an apology.

Luther appearing in court Tuesday. The Texas Supreme Court has order her release - just two days after she was jailed

Luther appearing in court Tuesday. The Texas Supreme Court has order her release – just two days after she was jailed

Luther pictured in court Tuesday. Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé found Luther in criminal and civil contempt of court on Tuesday and sentenced her to a week in jail

Luther pictured in court Tuesday. Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé found Luther in criminal and civil contempt of court on Tuesday and sentenced her to a week in jail

He gave her the opportunity to admit fault and offered to commute her sentence if she apologized for ‘being seflish’, but Luther refused to admit she did anything wrong. 

‘I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I’m not going to shut the salon,’ she said before the judge.   

Texas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail on Tuesday for refusing to shut down her business in accordance with stay-at-home orders. Pictured in mug Tuesday

Texas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail on Tuesday for refusing to shut down her business in accordance with stay-at-home orders. Pictured in mug Tuesday

‘The defiance of the court’s order was open, flagrant and intentional,’ Moyé wrote in his decision. 

‘The defendants, although having been given an opportunity to do so, have expressed no contrition, remorse or regret for their contemptuous action.’  

Abbott started phase one of Texas reopenings last week, which did not include the reopening of salons – but Luther reopened her business on April 24 anyway.

She received multiple citations for opening her business against the state orders. 

On April 24 she received a cease and desist letter from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

The following day at an Open Texas rally to reopen businesses in Frisco, Texas, she was seen ripping the letter into pieces before a cheering crowd. 

She then received a court-issued temporary restraining order on April 28 mandating she close her business.

Luther pictured holding her citation and speaking to the media after she was cited by City of Dallas officials for reopening her Salon A la Mode in Dallas, Friday April 24

Luther pictured holding her citation and speaking to the media after she was cited by City of Dallas officials for reopening her Salon A la Mode in Dallas, Friday April 24

Luther pictured being issued a citation by Dallas City officials on Friday April 24

Luther pictured being issued a citation by Dallas City officials on Friday April 24

A man carrying a rifle and Texas flag stands with salon owner Shelley Luther, left, and others in front of her salon on Friday April 24

A man carrying a rifle and Texas flag stands with salon owner Shelley Luther, left, and others in front of her salon on Friday April 24

Luther continued to defy the court orders and shared a Facebook Live video last week saying she intended to remain fully open and that it was her right to. 

‘I’m still here, I’m standing for your rights and Salon A La Mode is open for business,’ she said. 

Luther argued that her business needs to be open because her hairstylists need to work to provide for their families. 

She also said her salon is a safe and clean environment that doesn’t pose a threat in spreading COVID-19.   

Luther’s case has become a symbol for the divide ravaging America as protesters defy stay-at-home orders to march on capitol buildings demanding an end to lockdowns, which they say quashes their liberty and irreparably damages businesses, jobs and the economy. 

Protesters gather outside the Lew Sterrett Justice Center waiting for Luther's release Thursday afternoon

Protesters gather outside the Lew Sterrett Justice Center waiting for Luther’s release Thursday afternoon

Luther's case has become a symbol for the divide ravaging America as protesters defy stay-at-home orders to march on capitol buildings demanding an end to lockdowns, which they say quashes their liberty and irreparably damages businesses jobs, and the economy

Luther’s case has become a symbol for the divide ravaging America as protesters defy stay-at-home orders to march on capitol buildings demanding an end to lockdowns, which they say quashes their liberty and irreparably damages businesses jobs, and the economy

As of Thursday afternoon, Texas has 35,524 confirmed cases and 969 people have been killed by the virus

As of Thursday afternoon, Texas has 35,524 confirmed cases and 969 people have been killed by the virus

Meanwhile, on the other side stands the counter-protesters and medical experts who insist stay-at-home orders are essential to saving lives and warn that reopening states too soon will spark a renewed spike in cases and deaths from coronavirus.

Texas – along with other southern states – has been one of the first to lift restrictions, despite a growing number of cases of the deadly virus. 

On Tuesday, Abbott announced hair salons, barbers and nail salons can all reopen from Friday, as long as businesses comply with social distancing guidelines. 

But fears are mounting that the state could be relaxing restrictions too soon, with a leaked recording revealing the state governor also has his doubts.  

Abbott announced in a media briefing last week that the state would ‘strategically’ allow businesses such as malls, movie theaters and restaurants to run at 25 per cent capacity and said ‘it’s only logical to see there would be an increase in the number of people that test positive’.

But in a Friday call with lawmakers Abbott directly linked the reopening to the spread of COVID-19, while stating that his goal was not to eliminate the disease but only get the number of reported cases reduced.

Luther pictured April 25 speaking at Open Texas rally in Frisco. This Tuesday, Abbott announced hair salons can reopen from Friday

Luther pictured April 25 speaking at Open Texas rally in Frisco. This Tuesday, Abbott announced hair salons can reopen from Friday

Luther ripped up the citation the state issued her for opening her salon at the protest

Luther ripped up the citation the state issued her for opening her salon at the protest

Shelley Luther vs Texas’s stay-at-home order

April 24 –  Shelley Luther defies Texas stay-at-home order and reopens Salon A La Mode. She is given a cease and desist letter from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

April 25  Luther attends an Open Texas protest in Frisco and is seen ripping the judge’s letter into pieces before a cheering crowd. 

April 25 – Luther receives a court-issued temporary restraining order mandating she close her business.  

May 5 – Luther appears in court where she is sentenced to seven days behind bars for repeatedly defying stay-at-home restrictions and court orders to shutter her business.

May 6 – Senior state officials including Gov. Abbott call for her release and protesters gather outside the Dallas Municipal Court building Wednesday.

May 7 –  Gov. Abbott amends his executive order removing confinement as a punishment for non-compliance. Texas Supreme Court then orders Luther’s release. Luther walks free from prison to crowds of supporters.

‘How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?’ Abbott is heard asking in the audio obtained by The Daily Beast.

‘Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It’s almost ipso facto.’

The authenticity of the conversation, first reported by The Quorum Report, with members of the state legislature and Congress was confirmed by the governor’s spokesperson.

In the recording Abbott goes on to admit that he is not aiming to eradicate the virus in the state and knows that allowing people to gather again will cause the infection rate to spike.

‘The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission,’ Abbott continued. ‘The goal never has been to get transmission down to zero and never can be to keep transmission down to zero.   

As of Thursday afternoon, Texas has 35,524 confirmed cases and 969 people have been killed by the virus.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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