The Supreme Court of Texas has ordered Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther to be released from jail. Luther was charged with contempt of court for violating a restraining order that directed her to stay at home when she refused to close down her salon during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the order, Luther is being released pending a hearing before the Texas Supreme Court on Monday.
Luther grabbed national headlines after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to continue her business, Salon A La Mode.
On Tuesday, Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail for violating a temporary restraining order to close her business and was fined $500 each day that the salon remained open, which totaled $7,000.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott modified his executive orders on Thursday to remove confinement as a punishment for violations.
"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 on Thursday. "That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order."
"I am eliminating jail for violating an order, retroactive to April 2, superseding local orders," Abbot said. "Criminals shouldn't be released to prevent COVID-19 just to put business owners in their place."
It is not clear, however, whether this will help Luther ultimately avoid the remainder of her sentence, since she was sentenced for violating a judicially-issued restraining order rather than directly for violation of Gov. Abbott's executive order.
Dallas Judge Eric Moyé stated that he would not sentence Luther to jail if she apologized, admitted she had been "selfish," and promised not to reopen her salon until permitted by executive order, but Luther refused these conditions.
"I have much respect for this court and laws," Luther told the judge on Tuesday. "I have never been in this position before and it's not some place that I want to be. But I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I'm selfish — because feeding my kids is not selfish."
A GoFundMe campaign was started for the salon owner and has raised over $500,000.