A Dallas, TX area salon owner, Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail and ordered to pay a $7,000 fine for reopening her business despite restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus. Ms. Luther was forced to close her business on March 22nd after Dallas county enacted a stay-at-home order. She reopened her salon on April 24th and was then served with a cease-and-desist order from Clay Jenkins, the County Judge. Ms. Luther tore up that cease-and-desist order in front of a crowd of people gathered to protest against the lockdown.
District Judge Eric Moyé (a Democrat) signed a temporary restraining order pertaining to Ms. Luther on April 28th, but she ignored that as well and continued to operate her business. Ms. Luther’s hearing was held yesterday and broadcast on YouTube. During the hearing, Shelley Luther explained that she had to open her business because she had no other way to make money and feed her children. She testified, “I couldn’t feed my family, and my stylists couldn’t feed their families.”
Judge Moyé offered Ms. Luther a deal wherein she could apologize and keep her business closed and avoid jail time. Ms. Luther refused.
The judge told Shelley Luther she— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) May 5, 2020
could avoid jail time if she apologized, admitted she was wrong, and agreed to close her hair salon until it was allowed to open.
This is her response…@CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/1phdNUsLme
District Judge Moyé who presided over Ms. Luther’s case is a prominent local Democrat. While we do not have any reason to believe Judge Moyé’s decision was politically motivated, this is not the first time he has been involved in drama. In 2009, Judge Moyé made local headlines and was investigated by the Texas Rangers for an altercation with another judge. In May of 2016, Judge Moyé was accused on Facebook of pulling a gun on a local woman while driving. Judge Moyé denied that accusation, asserting that he had placed the gun on the passenger seat of his car because another driver had been tailgating him for several miles.
Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (both Republicans) have both come out against Ms. Luther’s incarceration. AG Paxton wrote, “I find it outrageous and out of touch that during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminal 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.”