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Dallas Salon Owner Jailed for Defying COVID-19 Order to Close

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Shelley Luther is a Dallas hair salon owner who is facing legal trouble after she opened her salon in violation of the Texas Governor’s executive order that shut down businesses. During a contempt hearing, Luther was told by Judge Eric Moyé that she could avoid jail time if she apologized and admitted what she did was wrong. Instead, Luther told the judge that feeding her kids was not selfish, and she refused to apologize.

In the process of explaining to Luther why the contempt of court proceedings were taking place, the judge told her that she was “flagrantly ignoring, and in one case defiling” the orders of elected officials, and that she owed them an apology. “I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish [for re-opening the salon], because feeding my kids is not selfish” Luther told the judge. The Salon Á la Mode owner’s contempt of court proceeding was broadcast over the internet as well as tweeted by a CBSDFW correspondent. Luther was issued an order by Dallas County that required her to close Salon Á la Mode after she defied the initial order to close the business and stay home due to COVID-19 restriction orders.

Video: Twitter/@CBS11Andrea

During the contempt hearing, Judge Moyé told Luther that she must understand that “society cannot function where one’s own belief in a concept of liberty permits you to flaunt your disdain for the rulings of duly elected officials.” Luther’s response, which was captured on video and shared online, was that she had hairstylists who were “going hungry” and that they would rather feed their kids. As her final statement, Luther noted, “So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon.” It was identified by the CBSDFW correspondent that the salon owner was ordered jail time for the period of seven days in addition to a fine of $500 for each day that her business remained open. As of May 5, 2020, that figure stood at $3,500.

Luther’s contempt hearing took place at approximately the same time as Governor Abbott’s announcement that gyms and hair salons could re-open on Friday, May 1, 2020. Luther’s attorney has told the press that there will be an appeal to Judge Moyé’s ruling.