Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Governor Greg Abbott have called for the release of Dallas resident Shelley Luther, a salon owner who was sentenced to seven days in jail and a $7,000 fine for reopening her shop in defiance of the state's stay-at-home order.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement, adding that the trial judge's order was a "shameful abuse of judicial discretion."
Abbott later released his own statement calling for Luther's release. "As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option."
Late last month, Luther talked to Inside Edition about why she felt re-opening was her only option.
"I'm behind on my mortgage," the mom of three told Inside Edition. "I know a lot of my stylists haven't paid their mortgage. It's either come in and make money to be able to feed your family or stay home and freak out."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire at the end of April. Certain non-essential businesses were allowed to re-open, with limited capacity, The Hill reported. Some counties and local jurisdictions have voted to extend the order.
There have been more than 34,000 reported COVID-19 cases and 946 deaths across the state.