Isaac Wright Jr. | Biography 2021
Isaac Wright Jr. | Biography 2021
Candidate, 2021 New York Mayoral Election

Isaac Wright Jr. | Biography 2021

In 1996, he successfully could illustrate that in 1991 he was framed by the head prosecutor, presiding judge, and the investigating authority of his case in the evidentiary hearing of his case. His case was schemed by the officials by creating false reports and planting shreds of wrongful evidence.


Issac Wright Jr. is an American lawyer running for mayor in the 2021 New York City Mayoral election. 

Who is Issac Wright Jr.?

Issac Wright Jr. is prominently known as the inspiration behind the ABC-produced series, For Life (2020). 

Wright was initially an entrepreneur in New York and managed a girl group band called Cover Girls in the 80s. But in 1991, he was wrongfully arrested and convicted on a drug charge. The prosecutors accused him of being a drug kingpin and corrupt. He was imprisoned for life by the Somerset County Court. He then spent seven years in prison studying law, helping other inmates prove their innocence or lower their sentencing, and overlooking his case’s appeals.

In 1996, he successfully could illustrate that in 1991 he was framed by the head prosecutor, presiding judge, and the investigating authority of his case in the evidentiary hearing of his case. His case was schemed by the officials by creating false reports and planting shreds of wrongful evidence.

He went on to prove his innocence and get a law degree in 2007. He received his attorney license in 2017, after which he met the infamous star 50 cents. He told his story to 50 cents, who helped pitch the story for a possible plot for tv-series.

ABC picked the pitch and created the tv show For Life, which released its first season in 2020 and second season in 2021. In the year 2020, Wright also announced that he was running for Mayor election as a democratic candidate for the state of New York.

Early Life

Wright was born on 23 January 1962 in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, to mother Sandra B. Wright and military father Issac Sr. He grew up with five siblings in Moncks Corner. He attended Berkeley High School, where he was on the track team. After that, he completed one semester at Trident Tech.

During his high school years, he used to DJ at a roller skating rink of Hot-Wheels in Summerville. He also used to work at Sears in Northwoods Mall. While working at Sears, he was wrongfully fired just because he made a phone call asking his brother to pick him up during a thunderstorm. Later, Wright discovered that he was fired because the boss wanted to hire his nephew instead.

The injustice left a deep impression on Wright, after which he dropped out of school and moved to New York.

A career in the Industry

After moving to New York, he started working in the entertainment industry. He became a successful entrepreneur. He was involved as a music producer of the pop-urban musical girl group, Cover Girls, in which one of the members was his vocalist wife Sunshine. The band was making dance-pop hits in the 80s, and Wright was financially doing well. 

Wright and his wife eventually decided to move to New Jersey and settle down.

Conviction

But in 1991, when Wright was 29 years old, he was arrested under the allegations of being a drug kingpin and corruptions.

Reminiscing his day of arrest, Wright narrated, “The day I was arrested, the police brought this guy to see me. He was in a suit, I thought he was my attorney. But he said, ‘I just wanted to come here to introduce myself. I am Nicholas Bissell, the chief prosecutor, and I am trying your case personally.’ That was major. A head prosecutor got out of his bed in the middle of the night to come to tell me that he was going to be trying my case personally. I knew at that point that I was in a lot of trouble. Later, after seeing the corruption, the lies, the false police reports … there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to prison for something I didn’t do, and no one was going to be able to prevent it.”

As the case proceeded, Wright observed series of planted evidence, false police report, and lying witnesses on the stand. The attorneys he had interviewed suggested he plead guilty and spend 15 to 20 years in prison. He eventually made peace because he thought he would not win this on his terms and did not get an expensive lawyer.

Therefore, Wright represented himself in his trial at the Somerset County Courtroom. He lost his case and received a life sentence in prison. He was convicted under the New Jersey Drug Kingpin Law.

While his stay in prison, he continued studying law and in-process provided legal aid in over 20 cases of the inmates. He alongside saw the appeals of his own case, and in a 1996 evidentiary hearing, he cross-examined veteran police, James Dugan. Dugan was presented as one of the leading officers in Wright’s 1991 arrest. Wright, while cross-examining, broke Duncan’s chain of answers and made him confess the police misconduct on Wright’s case. That confession uncovered the false convictions and systematic misconduct by the head prosecutor during Wright’s trial.

It was revealed that Duncan, head prosecutor and the presiding judge of Wright’s case, framed Wright by fabricating evidence and compelling the witnesses to lie on the stand, eventually establishing that Wright was a drug kingpin.

During the hearing, Mr. Wright and his lawyer Francis Hartman were able to justify that Bissel initiated an illegal seizure of cocaine through his detective squad. The strong part of their case was that the two could justify that then Somerset County prosecutor Bissel awarded leniency to three co-defendants and used pre-juried testimonies by them to frame Wright. 

After that confession, a criminal investigation was launched against the head prosecutor Nicholas Bissell and all his cases from 1982 were reviewed. During the investigation, it was discovered that 14 complaints were already lodged against Bissell, which were not taken into action. The presiding judge of Wright’s case was discarded from the bench and disbarred. Later, Bissell committed suicide in response to the possible criminal charges against him.

The hearing ended with the judge ordering a new trial at a future date after Bissell’s successor as Somerset Prosecutor, Melaine B. Campbell, argued that the prosecution still had enough evidence to retry Wright. But Campbell’s team sent a letter to the judge later which said that the second trial would be adjourned until the Attorney General’s office completed its inquiry.

In the end, Wright’s bail was set out to 250,000 dollars from 500,000 dollars. His friends and relatives bailed him in December of 1996 after he stayed in prison for seven years.

Release

After his release, he spent another seven years studying law and graduated from Saint Thomas University School of Law in 2007. He passed the New Jersey Bar in 2008. Due to his criminal records, he was sworn for the license of attorney only in 2017.

Then he started working as a general practitioner specializing in criminal law in New Jersey law firm Hunt, Hamlin, and Ridley.

Later Wright also founded the Issac Wright Jr. Network for Justice, which was a national online database for legal and social justice nonprofits. Wright, through the foundation, has worked in international justice projects, including Spain, Nigeria, Thailand, and Mexico.

Show ‘For Life’

While working as an attorney, Wright came across the famous rapper/singer 50 Cents, Curtis Jackson, in an illegal fight club. There, Wright shared his journey to becoming a lawyer with Jackson, to which he responded that Wright’s story is like a movie story. That eventually was the prime step of making the show For Life (2020).

Jackson was one of the executive producers of the show that premiered under ABC tonight. He previously thought of making it a movie but then became sure that two hours would not do justice to the story and proceeded to make it a tv series. “Most important parts of this story will be told. This is something that people are going to want to hear and see every week.” Jackson remarked about the production in an interview.

Wright was actively involved in the show's writing; he read through every script and was also present during the filming of the show.

The first season was released in 2020, followed by the second season in 2021. ABC also produced behind the scenes, capturing the Wright family’s experience with the broken justice system.

Mayor Election

In late 2020, Wright announced that he was running for the mayor of New York City under the democratic party’s candidacy in 2021. He also addressed his ability to make changes as a mayor in his interview with the New York Amsterdam News in February 2021.

Connoted, “Running for mayor is a part of me finding and identifying that person who calls himself Issac Wright Jr. None [of the other candidates] have the kind of experiences moving through the kinds of challenges that I endured. My experience has prepared me for this moment in time. No candidate has the background I have with criminal justice. I understand that there’s someone who worked in law enforcement running for mayor, but he didn’t change the lives of Black and Brown people and the militarization of the police. The reason they don’t have the answers is because they haven’t been on the other side.”

Personal Life

Wright was married to Adriel McNair Wright, also known as Sunshine from the infamous girl group Cover Girls. During his time in prison, they got a divorce. They had one daughter, Tikealla.

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