DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After spending about two days in jail and receiving support from state leaders and residents, Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther has been released from custody.
When she walked out of the jail, she was met with a large crowd of supporters with signs in hands congratulating her on her release.
“I’m a little overwhelmed… I just want to thank all of you who I just barely met and now you’re all my friends. You mean so much to me. Thank you so, so much,” Luther said to her supporters outside of the building.
She said she would have more to say after she has time to gather her thoughts from being released.
Dallas judge Eric Moye on Tuesday found her to be in contempt of court when she refused to apologize for defying stay-at-home orders and reopening Salon A La Mode nearly two weeks ago. She was sentenced to seven days in jail.
This set off a firestorm of support from leaders, activists and residents who believed she should not have received jail time for reopening her business even as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
It started Wednesday when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton publicly 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.”
The attorney general sent a letter to Moye, saying her sentencing was “significantly overbroad.”
According to new executive orders from Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week, salons and barber shops will be allowed reopen on Friday, May 8.
Paxton said jailing Luther for seven days, which overlaps with her being able to operate her business, was “unjustifiable.” Abbott also said he agreed with Paxton.
On Thursday, Abbott announced he was modifying his current executive orders to eliminate jail time as a punishment for violating those orders. This was also in response to a story about two women in Laredo who were arrested in April for violating local orders by offering beauty services in their homes.
“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said.
Soon after Abbott’s announcement, the Supreme Court of Texas ordered Luther’s release.
Abbott was at the White House Thursday as President Donald Trump praised Texas for its reopening plan and rolling back restrictions. During this meeting, there was a brief mention of Luther’s case.
“These people who have spent their life building up a business and lose every penny they have and if they don’t follow every little fine point of all the rules they suddenly are subject to arrest, that is wrong, and that is why I issued another executive order today saying that in the state of Texas no one can be put behind bars because they are not following an executive order,” Abbott said
Trump: “That includes the woman that we’ve been reading about with the beauty salon?” Abbott: “She is free today.” Trump: “Good.”
The salon owner has garnered crowds of residents who supported her decision to reopen her business even if it was in defiance of stay-at-home orders.
Luther was also ordered to pay a fine of $3,500 and then $500 per day her salon was still open until Friday. However, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick confirmed he was covering that fine with a $7,000 donation.
A GoFundMe page that was set up for Luther also met its goal of $500,000. It’s unclear what Luther will do with that money.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also visited Salon A La Mode on Wednesday to offer her support to Luther and her employees.