Dozens of people gathered outside a Dallas courthouse Monday to show their support for the county judge who sent a salon owner to jail for seven days after she opened her business earlier than Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's plan allowed.
Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé sentenced Salon a la Mode owner Shelley Luther to seven days in jail May 5 after she reopened her business April 24. Abbott's plan to reopen Texas initially allowed for barbershops and salons to resume business May 8.
Moyé also fined Luther $500 for each day Salon a la Mode was open.
However, the day after Moyé sentenced Luther, Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called for her release, despite the governor's executive order.
The Texas Supreme Court sided with Abbott and Paxton, ordering Luther's release on May 7.
About 50 people were outside the George Allen Courts Building Monday afternoon to show support for Moyé.
“There are people courageous enough to make a stand against the growing injustice under the Trump administration that we see everyday,” said Peter Johnson, one of those gathered to support Moyé.
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Moyé said the defiance of the court's order was open, flagrant and intentional, and sentenced her for criminal and civil contempt.
After the Supreme Court's order, Abbott eliminated jail time for violating his order.
“It was absolutely absurd the way that this judge in Dallas County went about doing it in such a punitive way. It is wrong to try to put behind bars a business owner who is just trying to make ends keep (sic) and feed her kids. Then, at the same time, not arrest and put behind bars common thieves who are stealing items up to $750 dollars and maybe letting out of jail people who are hardened criminals, but letting them out just because of the COVID-19 outbreak," Abbott said Sunday on NBC 5's Lone Star Politics. "What is going on in Dallas County is inconsistent with regard to the application of the law."
But Moyé's supporters said he was just enforcing the law.
“The law ought to be respected no matter who is going to jail or who is not going to jail,” Johnson said.
Those gathered outside the courthouse were upset by the Supreme Court's decision to let Luther out of jail.
“The lady had every opportunity to apologize to the judge last week and refused, just arrogantly,” Jacques Natanson said. “I work for a living. I just got back to work. I obeyed the law, why couldn’t she?”
Moyé’s office said the judge had no comment.