(Texas News Radio) — Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther has been ordered to be released from jail by the Supreme Court of Texas Thursday.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted a photo of the image.
Paxton and Texas Governor Greg Abbott both issued statements Wednesday requesting the Dallas judge that sentenced Luther to seven days and fined her $7,000 to release her immediately. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick followed that up, offering to pay Luther’s fine and be placed under house arrest in her place.
The judge, Eric Moye, and other civil district court judges who are all Democrats — in contrast to Abbott, Patrick and Paxton, who are all Republicans — rebuffed the requests, calling them the executive branch interfering in the judicial branch.
Paxton sent a letter Thursday in response to those judges.
“My office deeply values the separation of powers. Respect for that separation, and for Texas law, is exactly why I could not order Judge Moyé to release Ms. Luther. However, it is my sworn duty to defend the rule of law and advocate the interests of Texas citizens, which includes giving voice to the outrage shared across the state,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Judges are independent of the Executive Branch, but they are not independent of the people, and as stated in the Texas Constitution, all political power is rightfully inherent in the people.”
Abbott does not have full pardon power in Texas.
The governor Thursday modified his executive order to eliminate confinement as a punishment for violating the order.
“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,” said Governor Abbott. “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. 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. 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.”