Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has called for the immediate release of a Dallas nail salon owner who was fined and jailed for operating her business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We shared in a separate story on Wednesday that Shelley Luther was to spend 7 days in jail after initially closing, then reopening her nail salon in Dallas. Luther operated the nail salon with just 2 employees instead of her usual 19.

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After defying the order against her to close, Dallas judge Eric Moye authorized that Luther be arrested with her time to begin immediately.

In a full statement released to Dallas media, A.G. Ken Paxton called judge Moye's move a political stunt:

“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.”

Under Governor Greg Abbott's executive order, Luther will be able to operate her business beginning Friday, May 8.

Gov. Abbott soon 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’s attorney, Warren Norred, said they would appeal the judge’s decision.

A GoFundMe page that was set up for Luther has, so far, raised just over $301,000.

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