Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday that the Dallas judge who jailed salon owner Shelley Luther for defying a city lockdown didn’t deserve an apology from her.
“Who in the heck does he think he is?” Patrick asked Fox News host Ed Henry on “America’s Newsroom.”
“He looked like he wanted to punish her. And remember, he didn’t send her to jail because she violated the order. He sent her to jail because she wouldn’t grovel and apologize to him. Apologize to him! Who in the heck does this guy think he is?”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ensured Thursday that Luther would be released from jail when he decriminalized violations of social distancing orders because of the coronavirus panic. (RELATED: ‘Misguided Abuse Of Power’: Texas AG Demands Release Of Jailed Salon Owner)
Luther received a seven-day jail sentence for opening her salon during Dallas’ lockdown that included barbers and hair dressers on its list of local businesses barred from opening during the coronavirus pandemic. She continued to run the business despite multiple court orders.
Patrick applauded the hairdresser’s grit Friday. “This woman stood her ground. And if I had been a judge, I would’ve simply said, ‘You know, Shelley, you broke the executive order. I’m going to fine you 50 bucks. Get back and take care of your family and your employees.’ We do want people to follow orders. But putting people in jail for seven days?”
Patrick noted that Dallas County is also letting criminals out of jail over fears of COVID-19 infection “and you’re treating this woman like this and criminals get an out of jail free card no matter what they did? No. Not on our watch in Texas.” (RELATED: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Says Jailed Salon Owner ‘Should Be Home With Her Kids … For Mother’s Day’)
The lieutenant governor said that paranoia was affecting good judgment but was glad that “our barbershops and salons are open today. I have not had a haircut in eight weeks, and the last time that happened was in the ‘70s, so I’m looking forward to getting my haircut today. But I’m glad these women are okay.”
Judge Moyé is a Democrat elected in 2008 to the 14th District Court.
“I’ve never known the judge to seek the spotlight, but he also leans into doing his job,” Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchía, who considers Moyé a friend, told The Dallas Morning News. “If that is part of the job, then I think he is happy to defend the rule of law against any criticism.”