DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called for her “immediate release,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he will be covering a fine owed by Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther, who is currently serving a seven-day jail sentence.
A spokesperson later confirmed Patrick did just that.
Luther, owner of Salon A La Mode, was sentenced Tuesday after judge Eric Moye said she violated statewide stay-at-home orders when she reopened her business nearly two weeks ago. She also publicly tore up a cease-and-desist letter from Dallas County that ordered her to close.
Luther was also ordered to pay a fine of $3,500 along with $500 per day that her salon is open until Friday, May 8.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s new executive order from earlier this week allows businesses like salons and barber shops to reopen in Texas that Friday.
Luther appears to now be getting some help in terms of her fine as Patrick publicly said he would cover that cost. He also said he would volunteer to be placed under house arrest so she could be released.
“7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. No surprise Texans are responding. 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,” Patrick tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
7 days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. No surprise Texans are responding. 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. #txlege #TexansHelpingTexans https://t.co/gdtMLAHFV5
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 6, 2020
Earlier Wednesday, Paxton called for the “immediate release” of Luther as he believed the judge was abusing his authority and that her arrest seemed like a “political stunt.”
“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 Attorney General Paxton. “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.”
The attorney general sent a letter to Moye about his concerns about her arrest and sentencing.
Paxton told CBS 11 News there’s no action he can take beyond voicing his opinion as the state’s top attorney.
“We just thought that was way over the top. It was an abuse of discretion and that the judge should not put people in jail like her who are just trying to make a living,” Paxton said.
Abbott also released a statement Wednesday, saying he agrees with Paxton’s statement and letter.
The salon owner has garnered crowds of residents who supported her decision to reopen her business even if it was in defiance of statewide orders.
Protesters could be seen Wednesday afternoon at an intersection near the Dallas County Jail, calling for her release.
A GoFundMe page that was set up for Luther has, so far, raised over $380,000. The goal was originally $250,000 but it has since increased to $500,000.