Despite striving to ensure everyone’s rights, the justice system remains imperfect. Thanks to organizations like the Innocence Project, more and more innocent people have been exonerated. But amid the flawed system, there are those who bravely become the voice for the voiceless. Among them is Jimmie Lee Staley, who stands up for a man wrongfully accused in 2010, Patrick Gonzalez Jr.
Jimmie Lee Staley is a blogger, author, and social advocate for those who have been wronged by the justice system. She is the powerhouse behind the bestselling book called Conjuring Justice: Proof One Person Can Make a Difference, published in 2014. Jimmie is recognized in her hometown of Pensacola, Florida, as a force to be reckoned with for her bold stance on corruption in that community.
Jimmie’s commitment to pursuing justice was pivotal in locating a missing and endangered child through her blog Conjuring Justice. As an independent citizen, she is passionate about helping people who have been denied justice. Nine years ago, the blogger started inquiring into the plight of a man she personally knew named Patrick Gonzalez Jr.. Patrick was convicted in a nationally publicized, first-degree murder case. It was extremely hard for Jimmie to see how Patrick was sentenced to death after what seemed like an incomplete investigation.
In this murder case, eight people were arrested in seven days after the crime was committed. The victims, Byrd and Melanie Billings had various business ventures. Byrd owned a buy-here pay-here car lot and a strip club in the past, but the investigation never looked into that particular side of his lifestyle. Jimmie criticized the local law enforcement for turning a blind eye on evidence and other investigation leads , focusing on an innocent man. Upon seeing how poorly the case was handled, Jimmie decided to step in by doing what she does best—writing.
“It is within everyone’s power to do something if they put their mind to it,” shared Jimmie. “I had nothing I could do but tell the story. That is the most important part.” Jimmie began getting contacted by people who had been victimized, by the same sort of inept investigations. “They want to be heard. After verifying the case, I do whatever is possible to help. It might be getting people connected with attorneys who will help them, providing information that improves the case or sometimes, just allowing the story to be heard is enough,” she added.
After kickstarting the fight through her blog, Jimmie received support and obtained the help of more sources coming forward for Patrick Gonzalez Jr. Since then, her work has been mentioned and quoted in legal cases involving the local sheriff and his administration. Her efforts for Patrick Gonzalez Jr. have also been the talk in morning meetings held by the sheriff or his chief deputy. Jimmie’s dedication has uncovered corruption and prosecutorial misconduct.
Jimmie sets an excellent example for her community by using her strengths to take action for those who have been denied justice. Patrick Gonzalez Jr. is just one of the millions across the globe who deserves a fair trial. Writing about the case seemed like a simple move, but it was the bravery beneath the action that makes Jimmie a local hero.
Learn more about Jimmie Lee Staley on Facebook.