For Life season 2: Who is Isaac Wright Jr? The true story behind For LifeNovember 20, 2020
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Top Boy’s Nicholas Pinnock stars as Aaron Wallace in For Life on ABC. Wallace is loosely based on lawyer Isaac Wright Jr but who is he? Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
Who is Isaac Wright Jr?
Isaac Wright Jr is an American lawyer from Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
In 1991, he was wrongly convicted on drug charges and sentenced to life in prison.
Prior to his arrest, Wright was a music producer and co-created the girl group Cover Girls.
During his time in prison, Wright trained as a paralegal and even helped overturn the wrongful convictions of 20 of his fellow inmates, before overturning his own.
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After studying law in his cell, he represented himself at trial and after his conviction in 1991, on appeal.
New Jersey Prosecutor Nick Bissell was convicted of several felonies, including embezzlement, tax fraud and abuse of power.
He faced six to eight years in federal prison and a maximum of 10 years but fled before he could be sentenced.
Following his death on November 27, 1996, the New York Times (NYT) reported on Wrights case, which detailed a hearing had found Wright’s conviction was “based in part on an illegal seizure of cocaine by Mr Bissell’s detective squad and on perjured testimony by three co-defendants who had been offered leniency by Mr Bissell.”
The NYT reported: “During the hearing, all three recanted their testimony against Mr Wright, and one, Rhoda White, said Mr Bissell had lied to the trial jury about his leniency deal with her.”
Wright was ordered to a new trial and was subsequently released from prison after his conviction was vacated and the case dismissed after a New Jersey detective admitted to evidence tampering.
Following his release, Wright graduated from college at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton and went on to study law at St Thomas University School of Law.
He passed the bar in 2008 and nine years later, in 2017, the New Jersey State Bar Association Committee approved his application.
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Wright told Esquire in February 2020, he works with New Jersey law firm Hunt, Hamlin, and Ridley as a general practitioner who specializes in criminal law.
Speaking to Esquire, Wright said: “I got over 20 people out of prison, some with life sentences and others based on getting their sentences reduced.
“The act of representing these other prisoners who were also wronged was a part of me fighting them back and getting them back for what they had done to me.
“And so all of those victories, they represented something really, really, really important to me.”
In For life, Aaron Wallace was serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit and like Wright, was helping others secure their freedom.
Wright even serves as an executive producer and consultant on the series.
Show creator Steinberg told the LA Times: “I’ve had a beautiful relationship and dynamic with Isaac.
“He’s incredibly nimble and limber in helping us capture the spirit of his story,”
Nicholas Pinnock, who plays Aaron Wallace in the series said: “I was completely overwhelmed by his case.
“There’s really five different versions of Isaac, .
“There’s the prisoner. There’s the prisoner representative in the legal cases. There’s the lawyer in court. There’s the family man.
“And then there’s the character that we see in flashback before all the trouble started.
“I wanted them to have their own unique voice but yet be recognisable in a single person.”
For Life season 2 airs Wednesdays on ABC
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