A Dallas salon owner who had defied her state's shutdown orders walked out of jail Thursday after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott amended his executive order on coronavirus restrictions.
Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days behind bars Tuesday for disobeying state coronavirus orders, doing business well ahead of even the aggressive reopening plans in Texas.
But Abbott on Thursday removed jail as punishment for violating his executive order, and the state Supreme Court ruled that Luther should be set free.
Supporters chanted "Shelley's free! Shelley's free!" as Luther, wearing a face covering, stepped out of the Dallas County Jail.
"I just want to thank all of you who I just barely met, and now you're all my friends," Luther told supporters. "You mean so much to me. This would have been nothing without you. Thank you so, so much."
Dallas County Judge Eric Moye had held Luther, owner of Salon À la Mode, and her corporate entity, Hot Mess Enterprises, in criminal and civil contempt.
Throwing Texans in jail whose biz's shut down through no fault of their own is wrong.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 7, 2020
I am eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders.
Criminals shouldn’t be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place.
Abbott, who was at the White House on Thursday to meet with President Donald Trump, said Luther and two other women from Texas didn't deserve to be locked up.
Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata had also been jailed for violating his shutdown owners in Laredo, but their cases didn't garner nearly as much attention as Luther's. Undercover police arrested Castro-Garcia, 31, for offering nail service and Mata, 20, allegedly for agreeing to perform eyelash service.
"We should not be taking these people and put them behind bars, these people who have spent their life building up a business," Abbott told reporters in the Oval Office.