A Dallas salon owner who defied a stay-at-home order designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, got out of jail thanks to an intervention from the governor and the Supreme Court of Texas.
Shelley Luther, who was at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas, was sentenced on May 6 when she re-opened her salon despite a state-wide order saying salons must be closed. She was also fined $3,500, plus $500 for every day her salon is open until May 8, when all salons and barbershops are allowed to reopen in Texas.
Her act of defiance attracted attention from a rogue's gallery including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, The Masked Singer contestant Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and a group of open-carry fellas who showed up at her salon armed to the teeth to "defend" it.
After she made a spectacle of tearing up her cease-and-desist letter from Dallas County, Luther became a cause du jour from "Open Texas" advocates, one of whom helped set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $500,000. The case has also drawn national attention.
Once Abbott caught wind, he modified his order to eliminate jail time and the Texas Supreme Court — judges Nathan Hecht, Paul Green, Eva Guzman, Debra Lehrmann, Jeffrey Boyd, John Phillip Devine, Jimmy Blacklock, Brett Busby, and Jane Bland, most of them his appointees — stepped up with a letter ordering Luther to be released.
Dan Patrick jumped on board, stating, "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."
Luther has two college-age children and lives in a home valued at $.5 million. She also received a PPP grant.
Paxton chimed in, speculating that whoever sentenced Luther to jail must be doing it as "another political stunt in Dallas."
Palin showed up at Luther's salon for a photo op with the staff while on her way to visit her daughter in Austin.
Huckabee tweeted "God bless TX Supreme Court for ordering Dallas salon owner released as Abbott bans jailing citizens for lockdown violations. Now lock up that idiot judge who must have thought he was in China!"
But another more rational Twitter user referenced "affluenza," the defense used by Burleson teen Ethan Couch, who killed four people while he was driving drunk.
"In Texas we have a 'special' law," TXSleuthUSA tweeted. It's for people who have 'affluenza.' They don't get same punishment as most people get. I'm pretty sure a barber in South Oak Cliff, in Dallas, might not get same deal."