APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Texas Salon

Salon owner Shelley Luther reacts as supporters chant for her Thursday after she was released from jail in Dallas. Luther was jailed for contempt of court when she refused to keep her business closed amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

A woman who lost her job as a waitress because of a natural disaster is growing desperate. Her savings account is empty, any hopes of getting a job in these circumstances are futile, and it will be weeks before unemployment event gets to her application, let alone sends a check.

Her two young children at home don’t understand. Their complaining about a steady diet of mac and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches breaks her heart. It’s not enough to satisfy them, to nourish their growing bodies.

She takes her last couple of dollars into the grocery store and stares at packs of meat she can’t afford. She picks one up and tucks it under her T-shirt, carefully looking to be sure she wasn’t spotted. Going to jail would make the situation for her kids even worse.

As she reaches the parking lot, a hand grabs her arm and instructs her to head back inside. She’s been caught.

Depending how much that package of meat cost— let’s say it’s worth $55, a Class B misdemeanor — our desperate mom could be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail or a $2,000 fine for theft under Texas law. But if she argues she needs it to feed herself and her hungry children, will they let her walk free?

“Legality does not change based on the finances of the person involved,” Peri Collins, an administrative law judge in North Texas, answered when posed that question. “Criminal laws against theft ban certain actions. Period. What the question is trying to do is add a morality component to making a legal determination, and the law does not work that way.”

Except when it does.

Dallas beautician Shelley Luther became a cause celeb for conservatives when she threw up her middle finger at Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders that hair salons remain closed as part of his plan to control the spread of COVID-19. She reopened her North Dallas business, Salon a la Mode, April 24 and shortly after received a citation for violating the governor’s order — an order which carries the weight of law.

At a rally several days later, she tore up a cease and desist order mandating she close, and when called again before a judge May 5 for violating his order to close, she refused to apologize and said her actions were to put food on the table for her family and those of her stylists.

“I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids, “ Luther told the court. “So, sir, if you think the law is more important than getting kids fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut my salon.”

With that, the judge ordered her to spend a week in jail — not for violating the order, but for contempt of court.

Elected officials quickly jumped to her defense, including Gov. Greg Abbott, who had set the punishment range the judge followed in sentencing Luther. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who never met a law he couldn’t twist to political advantage, chimed in as well. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — a former U.S. solicitor general — and others jumped onto the bandwagon, all calling for her immediate release.

This is justice in Texas and America nowadays. The letter of the law is either an “R” or a “D.”

It is ridiculous that Luther ended up behind bars, though it appears that was the intent all along. A group of activists calling themselves Woke Patriots recruited her to be their “protest” poster child and bankrolled the well-orchestrated PR stunt, according to reporting by Texas Monthly. It’s why Luther got the headlines instead of an Oyster Creek bar owner, Houston restaurateur or other grandstanding lawbreaker.

Go back to our desperate shoplifter, a woman who faces the same punishment range as the salon owner. Would the governor, state attorney general, U.S. senator and other elected leaders make her a poster child for injustice? Would they jump to her defense because her kids were starving through no fault of her own? More likely, her kids would be trudging out of their house toting their belongings in a trash bag, headed into CPS custody.

Those who keep phrases like “what part of illegal don’t they understand?” in their rhetorical holster ought to be indignant by Luther’s special treatment, instead of hoisting her as a hero.

Michael Morris is managing editor of The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0144 or michael.morris@thefacts.com, or follow him on Twitter @factsmichael1.

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(8) entries

Father of Six

Goodness gracious Mr. Morris. What in the world are you talking about? What a sad editorial and window into your soul. There would be as much outrage in an arrest of your made up story as the real story of woman fighting an executive order, not a law. You obviously have no faith in people or their compassion. The Judge in the real case erred when he punished her for not kissing his brass ring. Pucker up Mr. Morris.

Bulldog

We all live and die with the choices we make. So many young ladies fall in love with the bad boy only to discover the bad boy is really bad. Face it the world is not fair. The sexes are not equal despite what pop culture would have you believe. If I had a daughter my main goal would be to get her educated where she could support herself if need be. Braking the law and disobeying an executive order is two different matters completely

Bulldog

Breaking. Please add an edit option to the comments section

natives5

She's a fraud. When she applied for that $18,000 PPP loan she received from the government she provided her payroll information for the last quarter as well as other relevant information. She knew exactly what that money that just "appeared" in her account was for but she chose to continue her charade and play ignorant. Why did the governor implement a rule then change it for her? Would he have done the same for a non-Abbott supporter? He looks ridiculous and indecisive for kowtowing to this individual.

Father of Six

Governor Abbott looks ridiculous and indecisive to you no matter what he does. This should be an easy one for us to agree on. The judge was out of line. People shouldn't be going to jail over these over reaching orders.

PJBM626

Activist grandstanding?? Is Morris kidding. What about the story he refuses to cover as a dem lib news media outlet. Biden’s sexual allegations,

Morris was quick to cover the LIBERAL Ford who lied and own witnesses said she was lying. But Ford was a poster child for the facts and all dem propaganda media

Morris covered this lie and set up

by Fienstein for weeks

But dare a woman to stand up for her rights and just because Repubs stood by her she’s grandstanding

So you support a thief?? Please provide proof her children are starving!! Why didn’t she go to a church or food bank??

So Morris supports fully lib grandstanding, like the liar Ford but won’t dare print any story on Biden because Morris’s wants to lie to folks to vote for him

Very sad person

natives5

Your assuming again as well as burying your head. We won’t agree because I don’t understand why he implemented the law/order/rule in the first place if he was not planning to uphold it. The judge followed the order as written by the governor. Too bad Abbott couldn’t do the same.

betty1bear

Outstanding job, Mr. Morris. The sad thing is the support these shenanigans produce.

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