Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton admonished the "shameful abuse of judicial discretion" of a Dallas judge that fined a Texas salon owner $7,000 and sentenced her to seven days in jail in a "political stunt," calling for her immediate release.
"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," AG Paxton wrote in a statement Wednesday.
"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."
Paxton had told Newsmax TV earlier Wednesday of his letter of admonition to Dallas judge Eric Moye.
Paxton told "American Agenda" his office does not support the judge's decision, and noted they "just sent a letter to the judge a little while ago, basically saying that the judge had abused his discretion in sending this woman to jail who literally was just trying to make a living, and especially in light of the fact that the governor is allowing hair salons," and similar businesses "on Friday, it's a little bit over the top [to] put a woman in jail who's just trying to take care of her family."
He added, "especially in a county where, if you shoplift, the [District Attorney] there has said that as long as it's just $750 at a particular time, we won't prosecute you."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott supported Paxton's call for immediate release.
"I join the Attorney General in disagreeing with the excessive action by the Dallas Judge, putting Shelley Luther in jail for seven days," Abbott's statement read. "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."
Paxton said, overall he is "enjoying" seeing businesses start to reopen, saying, "hopefully that will progress in a fast and expeditious way, so they can actually make a profit."
Newsmax writer Eric Mack contributed to this report.
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Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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