Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Governor Greg Abbott are currently trying to undo the terrible decision that was made by Judge Moye. Each of them has released their own statements about this awful matter. For those who are unfamiliar, Judge Moye is responsible for the imprisonment of an innocent mother named Shelley Luther.
Luther opened her salon two weeks before the stay at home orders were lifted, in order to feed her family. Instead of being understanding about the matter, Judge Moye did what Democrats do: he turned it into a chance to flex his own political muscles. The crime could not have been that serious because he was willing to let her off with an apology and a promise never to do it again.
Moye wanted her to debase herself and go against her personal beliefs in order to stay out of jail. At least the attorney general and the governor of her state both have her back. Paxton offered pointed criticism of the judge during his statement. Why should this woman have to serve a week in jail and be subjected to all sorts of fines?
Paxton shares our point of view when it comes to this judge’s actions. He believes that the judge is engaged in a political stunt to make it look like he is tough on these sorts of “crimes”. It’s a clear abuse of authority and we are glad that there are people in power who see it the same way we do.
I find it outrageous that during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting #COVID19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family’s table.https://t.co/UXOn47uYG4
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) May 6, 2020
Judge Moye’s actions are deemed to be outrageous and “out of touch” by Paxton and we agree with him 100 percent. It’s a bit tone-deaf to be punishing a mother who is only trying to do her best to survive during a global crisis. This is the same county that was more than willing to release all sorts of hardened criminals because of the crisis.
Why can’t they show the same sort of compassion for a mother who is trying to make ends meet? If Shelley Luther is not released immediately, calling this a miscarriage of justice is no exaggeration. The attorney general sent a letter to Judge Moye, in hopes of getting him to change his mind about this horrible idea (and noted political quagmire).
It’s hard to believe that there are any residents in the state of Texas who support this move. Abbott has already put the necessary executive order into place. Luther is legally allowed to open her salon once again. Judge Moye would rather watch her sit in prison but Abbott and Paxton are on her side.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins even sent Luther a cease and desist letter about her salon. She decided to rip it up in public, justifiably so. According to Abbott and Paxton, Texans who are found to have violated the stay at home orders should not be jailed unless there is no other form of recourse. It’s hard to see where such a punishment was necessary in this instance.
Luther is also being forced to pay massive fines for having her salon open. That makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it? You’re not allowed to have the salon open to make money to feed your loved ones but the state is willing to fine you $500 a day for taking that measured risk. She’s now on the hook for $3,500 but the new executive order goes into effect on Friday.
Paxton said he believes the judge is abusing his authority and that her arrest seems like a “political stunt.” In a full statement, Paxton said:
“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,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther. His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”
The attorney general sent a letter to Moye, saying her sentencing was “significantly overbroad.” He mentioned that Abbott’s new executive order will allow her to operate business starting on Friday.
Paxton said jailing Luther for seven days, which overlaps with her being able to operate her business, is “unjustifiable.”
Abbott also released a statement, saying he agrees with Paxton in asking for her release.
“I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days. As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option. Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety; however, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother.”
Luther received a cease-and-desist letter last week from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to close her salon, but she publicly ripped it up.
Luther and her salon were also fined $500 for each day it was open, which was seven in total as of Tuesday. Moye said her salon would continue to be fined every day it was open until the new order would allow it to reopen on Friday.
If there is no lawsuit currently being prepared against Judge Moye, he needs to be counting himself lucky. This woman could easily sue the state for what she has gone through and we do not know a jury alive that would be willing to side with this thoughtless judge. We all have kids to feed at home and stories like these are sadly relatable.
This is Moye’s chance to get out in front of this looming political disaster. He should release her from jail and waive all of the fines now. Luther may not be willing to forgive him at this point but it’s worth a try. With each day that passes, Luther’s potential settlement amount is only going to continue to grow and grow.
The Democrats love to pretend that they are operating with the little guy in mind but they are never able to stand behind their words. This is just another example of their public grandstanding backfiring on them completely. Kudos to this governor and attorney general for trying to right Judge Moye’s wrongs. Their courage and willingness to speak out is an inspiration to us all.
Update: The Texas Supreme Court has now ordered the Salon Owner released and affirmed that no one can be sent to jail for violating shelter-in-place orders.