Today Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Governor Greg Abbott blasted Judge Eric Moye, the judge in the case of Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner, who Moye jailed for seven days with a $7,000 fine for reopening under phase one guidelines so she could pay her mortgage. Many have demanded that Abbott pardon Luther which is a great idea — but Abbott doesn’t have sole authority to do so. In 1936, Texans voted to pass the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Amendment (Proposition 6 as it was listed on the ballot) to amend the state constitution and establish a clemency board. From then on, the governor’s authority to issue pardons is subject to the board’s review and approval, with exceptions for treason only:

I want to encourage folks to keep up the momentum, but we need to make sure that before we get angry at an entity for not performing the action we want, we need to first make sure that it is within their power to do so. Channel that energy productively. This isn’t to say that the Governor should be absolved of any role or responsibility here — he and the AG should apply pressure and use every available option to free or expedite Luther’s release. Abbott should very publicly criticize all harsh enforcement, not only in Luther’s case. I realize that the role of governor demands a diplomatic approach, but diplomacy is out of the window when natural rights are violated. Additionally, severity of enforcement seems to fall to individual police departments and discretion of penalties to each judge when we need state-wide uniformity to avoid the abuse we saw from Moye. I’ve only been able to see this guidance in the Governor’s executive order:

WHEREAS, under Section 418. 173, failure to comply with any executive order issued during the COVD-19 disaster is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both fine and confinement.

I’m curious as to how Moye arrived at his $7k fine figure.

Abbott and Paxton should absolutely continue the pressure and increase it anyway they can  in their respective capacities. The request for Luther’s pardon should already be before the board.