Greg Abbott and Texas AG Ken Paxton: "Release Ms. Luther Immediately"

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is joined by state and city officials as he gives an update on the coronavirus outbreak, Monday, March 16, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in publicly disagreeing with the Dallas County judge’s decision to jail salon owner Shelley Luther after she defied lockdown orders and opened up her shop.

As my colleague, Nick Arama reported earlier Wednesday, Judge Eric Moye told Luther she could avoid jail time if she apologized and admitted that what she did was wrong and selfish. Luther responded respectfully that there was nothing selfish about feeding children and refused the apology, prompting the judge to throw her in jail for a week.

The outrage over this echoed into various areas of society and as a result, it’s echoed right into Abbott’s office in Austin. Paxton sent a statement lambasting the judge’s decision and ended by saying that Luther should be released “immediately.”

“I find it outrageous and out of touch that during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting COVID-19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family’s table,” said Paxton’s statement. “The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther. His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”


Abbott sent this along with a statement of his own.

“I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days. As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be 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.”

It should be noted that this isn’t a full pardon for Luther. Abbott has yet to exercise that power, however, if I was a betting man, I’d say that should the judge refuse to follow the demand of Paxton and Abbott, further measures will be taken.


Other politicians in Texas have spoken out against the judge’s decision, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who verbally smacked “small-minded” leaders who are “drunk with power.”

(READ: Dan Crenshaw Has Less Than Kind Things to Say About the Jailing of the Dallas Salon Owner)


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