The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of salon owner Shelley Luther, who was jailed for opening in violation of the state’s rules, as Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order retroactively eliminating jail time as a consequence for violating the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
Shortly after Abbott’s announcement, the Supreme Court of Texas ordered Luther’s release.
She was released from jail Thursday afternoon.
“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 in a statement. “That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order. This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.”
On Wednesday, Abbott, the state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick called for Luther’s release after she was jailed by Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moyé. The officials said he had abused his discretion and emphasized that the woman was keeping her business open in order to feed her family.
“As a mother, Ms. Luther wanted to feed her children,” Paxton said in a letter to the judge asking him to free her. “As a small business owner, she wanted to help her employees feed their children. Needless to say, these are laudable goals that warrant the exercise of enforcement discretion.”
On Thursday, Paxton praised the governor for ensuring that people would not be jailed for flouting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
“I applaud Gov. Abbott’s decision to ensure that penalties for violating public health orders are reasonable and not excessive. All Texans are trying to get through this crisis together and no one should be put in jail unnecessarily,” he said.
Abbott said it was not just that as the state was reducing its prison populations because of the coronavirus that it was also throwing entrepreneurs in jail.
“It may also ensure that other Texans like Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata who were arrested in Laredo, should not be subject to confinement,” Abbott said of the order. “As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place.“
What right does the government have to force people out of work and out of their own livelihoods, and tell them that they can’t go back?
That asshole judge needs to be thrown off the bench. Literally.
He’s a liberal prick who wants to throw his weight around and abuse his office.
Thank God the common sense of Texas got the better of this idiocy.