DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot says it is “disingenuous” to connect the case of jailed Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther to his office’s prosecuting policies. This statement comes a day after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton mentioned those policies in his letter calling for for Luther’s release.
The case surrounding the owner of Salon A La Mode has grabbed national attention after Dallas judge Eric Moye found her to be in contempt of court on Tuesday, leading to her seven-day sentence in jail. The judge said she violated stay-at-home orders when she reopened her business nearly two weeks ago.
Since receiving her sentence, Luther has garnered large amounts of support from state leaders, activists and residents who were calling for her release. Paxton took the extra step by sending a letter directly to Moye about his issues with her jailing.
However, in his letter on Wednesday, Paxton mentioned the Dallas County district attorney’s policies about prosecuting crimes like theft as a way to support his argument for letting Luther go.
“Indeed, local officials in Dallas have already gone considerably farther in cases less deserving of enforcement discretion. The Dallas County District Attorney announced that he ‘will not prosecute theft of personal items less than $750 unless the evidence shows that the alleged theft was for economic gain.’ If Dallas County is prepared to completely forgo prosecution of actual thefts, it cannot confine a woman to jail because she operated her business,” Paxton said in his letter.
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott modified his executive orders to eliminate jail time for violating those orders, and the Supreme Court of Texas ordered her release. Luther was seen leaving jail early in the afternoon in front of a crowd of supporters.
The Dallas County district attorney later released a statement, saying his office was not a part of the civil case involving Luther.
“As your Dallas County Criminal District Attorney, I feel it is important to correct false information about the DA Office’s role in the case of Dallas Salon Owner Shelley Luther… Ms. Luther’s case if a CIVIL matter, not a CRIMINAL matter,” Creuzot said in the statement. “… Dallas County was not a party to that civil lawsuit and my office did not appear or represent any party.”
At the end of his statement, Creuzot added: “It is disingenuous to make a connection between Ms. Luther’s civil case and any District Attorney prosecuting policy.”
Creuzot has previously received backlash for his policies on not prosecuting certain crimes since he took office, but he believes those policies shouldn’t be compared to civil cases like Luther’s.