“Come and get it, Judge Clay Jenkins,” she said, referring to the senior county official as she threw her letter to the crowd, the Dallas Morning News reported.
But while Luther was facing criminal and civil charges of contempt of court, Moyé offered her a chance to fix things: she just had to admit that her actions were selfish and evil, and that she would abide by the law.
Under all conditions, Luther refused.
“I must disagree with you, sir, when you say I am selfish, because feeding my children is not selfish,” she said in court on Tuesday, CBS DFW reported. “I have hairdressers who are hungry because they prefer to feed their children. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than nursing children, then go ahead, please, but I’m not going to close the room. “
He went ahead – and sentenced Luther to seven days in prison.
The scene in the sparsely populated Dallas County courtroom took place as Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday afternoon that the state would authorize the reopening of hair salons and hair salons by Friday, a schedule sooner than expected, after being pressured by party members and business owners. A number of hair salons and stylists in Texas have been defiant in recent weeks, saying they are desperate for money and unable to pay their bills.
Luther’s lawyer Warren Norred said he would file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in an attempt to free Luther from prison.
In the meantime, Norred said, his salon would not close until Friday, even if he faces a $ 500 fine for each day he violates Moyé’s order.
“She feels that what she is doing is right, and she feels that the way to overcome it is to recognize that you cannot back down,” Norred told the Washington Post. “The judge sent a message that we will chase you with the two barrels if you deign to stay open and cut your hair when the king does not allow it.” “
Luther opened her living room almost two weeks ago, telling local media that she could not afford to stay closed. Local news stations reported that the people inside were wearing masks and that Luther was carrying a thermometer, taking the temperature of customers as they entered. The police issued a citation for defying Abbott’s order, which did nothing. When she tore up the cease and desist letter from Jenkins, the city of Dallas also brought her to justice – and she still hasn’t budged.
“If that means I have to go to jail, I’m going to go,” she told the WFAA after Moyé issued a restraining order last week.
Luther, although the owner of the most visible hair salon, is far from the only one to resist Abbott’s orders.
Over the past few weeks, various hairstylists and hair salons have been in trouble with law enforcement for continuing to cut their hair. In Laredo, Texas, plainclothes police caught two stylists who were soliciting clients for haircuts or other services at their homes, arresting them during fake meetings they had set up with the accused women for violating an emergency order.
Candice Weeter, co-owner of Tune Up: The Manly Salon, told the Washington Post that she decided to reopen her living room in Magnolia, Texas, last week after Abbott authorized reopening of restaurants, cinemas and lower capacity shopping centers. For Weeter, it seemed arbitrary and unfair that these companies could open, but not his own. With her employees in dire straits, she said her nine locations in Texas had been approved for loans from the federal paycheck protection program, but money had not gone to certain stores.
Hours after it opened on Friday, however, she said police threatened to arrest people inside. Weeter closed it – before deciding to reopen on Tuesday.
She had two prominent clients looking for illegal haircuts: a pair of GOP state lawmakers.
In what state representative Briscoe Cain (R) called an act of “civil disobedience”, he and state representative Steve Toth (R) entered Weeter’s living room for a cut. Nothing was hidden in secret. News cameras were running, broadcasting the scene for all to see. But no police arrived this time.
Toth said he just wanted to show solidarity with the show and struggling businesses in general, believing that Abbott was progressing too slowly allowing everyone to reopen.
“I have small business owners who call me on the phone, and they risk losing their business and they are just discouraged right now,” he said.
Weeter said she feels Abbott has listened to concerns from her industry, but will not wait until Friday to open legally. She said that every day her employees are unemployed, which matters to them, and that she is not afraid that she will end up like Luther.
“We are not trying to disrespect anyone,” said Weeter. “We just want the right to take care of our employees or our customers.”
Weeter said that her employees will have to wear masks and that they will also be encouraged for customers, adding that she has stocked her stores with additional masks to give in case customers need them.
Abbott urged those returning to business to wear masks on Tuesday, but said the state would not require them. Stylists can only have one client at a time, and waiting clients must stay six feet apart or wait outside. Manicure and tanning salons will also reopen Friday, while Abbott said gyms could start opening on May 18 but without changing rooms and showers.
In the Moyé court order finding Luther in contempt, he added that it was not too late for Luther to commit to following the legal reopening process. If she does it in prison, he will consider her for release, he said.
She will just have to apologize to him and the other county officials as publicly as she challenged them.