Original Proposal – Marked for Life: One Man's Fight for Justice from the Inside

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Rev. Mark A. Karls
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Original Proposal – Marked for Life: One Man's Fight for Justice from the Inside

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Originally posted by Rev. Mark A. Karls » Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:40 am -- 89 views in Sec. 3 (Possible Topics For Future Meetings) before being transplanted here

I propose that we read “Marked for Life: One Man's Fight for Justice from the Inside” by Isaac Wright Jr. (St. Martin’s Press 11/8/2022 – 299 pages sans notes & index - $27.39 + shipping or $14.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).

I meet with 15 to 20 men in downtown Nashville every Tuesday morning at 6:30 am for a discussion group on various topics. Almost all of them are businessmen. One of them is married to the only sister of Isaac Wright Jr. and brought this book to our attention.

Isaac Wright Jr. now has his law degree, practices in the same courtroom where he was sentenced to life, and has become an advocate on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized communities victimized by what he calls "an unjust system of law" -- particularly for the black community and the poor.

His story is the basis of the ABC television drama series "For Life" produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

Book Description per Amazon.com

An empowering memoir of courage and hope in the face of injustice―and the basis for the ABC television show, For Life―Marked for Life is the true story of Isaac Wright Jr.’s battle to win his freedom after being wrongfully imprisoned for crimes he didn’t commit, and a critical indictment of America’s judicial system.

“If I waited around for someone to save me, I’d be waiting my whole life. Unless I took the reins of this thing myself, I was going to die in prison. If that was my destiny, then I was going to die fighting. The desperation of that equation kept me up most nights. I would never find a gladiator. So I had to become him.”

In the summer of 1989, Isaac Wright Jr. was a 28-year-old independent music producer, who’d struck out on his own and became one of hip hop’s early success stories. With his dance crew Uptown Express, Wright won recognition on Star Search, toured with Run-DMC, and transitioned into management, co-founding his wife Sunshine’s music group, The Cover Girls. They’d settled in the New Jersey suburbs to raise their six-year-old daughter, never imagining that Wright would fall victim to gross police misconduct and a corrupt district attorney.

Accused of being a drug “kingpin” and incarcerated in Somerset County while the prosecutor and police built their case of lies against him, Wright realized he would get no help from any defense attorneys―white men uninterested in uncovering the truth or in proving the innocence of a black man. Pressured to take a plea deal offer of 20 years behind bars, Wright chose to take the law into his own hands by educating himself in the legal system so he could represent himself in court.

Studying statutes and cases in the jail’s law library, Wright became an adept legal mind. But despite acquiring knowledge that he put to use in defending his fellow inmates, he lost his trial and was sentenced to Trenton State Prison for life, plus 70 years in 1991. For the next five years, Wright would continue learning law, become a paralegal with the prison’s Inmate Legal Association, and appeal his case. Threatened by corrupt correction officers and convicts, his family falling apart, Wright fought for his life with every legal means at his disposal, eventually uncovering the smoking gun that unraveled the conspiracy perpetrated by law enforcement officials against him.

Marked for Life is not just the story of how Isaac Wright Jr. won his freedom. It is the story of how he found his true calling as a gladiator fighting on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized communities victimized by an unjust system of law.

Author Bio – per his law firm

Isaac Wright Jr. is a partner in the law firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley of Newark NJ.

Per its website, Hunt Hamlin & Ridley “is recognized as the largest African-American owned law firm in the State of New Jersey with a wide range of expertise and skilled lawyers on staff to handle many types of legal matters.”

Per the Hunt Hamlin & Ridley website's bio for Isaac Wright Jr. –

Isaac Wright Jr. was wrongfully convicted on drug charges in New Jersey and sentenced to life in prison in 1991 under New Jersey’s drug kingpin laws. While incarcerated, he worked as a paralegal while in prison and helped to overturn the wrongful convictions of twenty of his fellow inmates, before finally proving his own innocence.

After being released from prison he graduated college at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton and eventually law school at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami. He graduated in 2007 and passed the bar in 2008. After a nine year investigation into his character the New Jersey Bar Association’s Committee approved his application.

This remarkable story of Isaac Wright, Jr., is the subject of a drama series on ABC-TV. It hails from The Last Ship co-creator/executive producer Hank Steinberg, Power executive producer Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, The Goldbergs executive producer Doug Robinson and Sony Pictures TV.

Written by Steinberg, the new TV drama series is based on Isaac’s story. He was wrongfully convicted as the kingpin behind one of the largest drug distribution networks in New Jersey. However, he now practices law in the same courtroom where he was sentenced to life behind bars. In prison, Wright studied the law and worked as a proxy-lawyer, writing briefs and motions to overturn the convictions of over 20 fellow inmates and ultimately to exonerate himself.

As a lawyer at the Law Firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley, his focus is on defending the wrongly accused and going after corrupt institutions.

After passing the New Jersey Bar in 2008, Wright spent nine years being investigated by the New Jersey Bar’s Committee on Character before being admitted to the bar in September 2017. This is when Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson signed a deal to produce a TV series based on Isaac’s life.

Steinberg, Jackson and his G-Unit Film & Television production company, and Wright will executive produce the series adaptation alongside Robinson and Alison Greenspan via Robinson’s Doug Robinson Productions. Sony TV, where the company is based, is the studio.

*****End of the Hunt Hamlin & Ridley website's bio for Isaac Wright Jr.*****

Editorial Reviews per Amazon.com

"Shot through with hard-earned wisdom and resilience, this is a powerful portrait of overcoming immeasurable odds."
-Publishers Weekly

"Isaac’s story is so amazing and inspiring that if it was fiction it would seem far-fetched. There is nothing like it - and nobody quite like him on the planet. Read it, share it, and be inspired."
–Shaun King, CEO Grassroots Law Project

"This book is a must read―a blue print for how to turn negative into a positive. Its motivational and educational qualities in overcoming life’s challenges to become an even better person should be a must read in our schools and colleges."
–Joseph Antonio “Fat Joe” Cartagena, hip-hop artist

"Quite simply Isaac Wright Jr.’s story is the story of one of the bravest most determined individuals I have ever met. This book captures that 'shock and awe' and the world needs to read it and learn from it."
–Mike Colter, actor, Luke Cage

"Isaac Wright Jr., is a man of honor and integrity but this book reveals a man whose character, drive and intellect is far beyond that of even the above average man. The book is mine blowing and inspiring. A must read."
–Sean Ringgold, actor, Notorious and One Life to Live

"I’ve never read a story about a man thrown in a hell called prison for the rest of his life but set the fight for his own freedom aside to win the freedom of his fellow inmates. This book is a bible in selflessness and the hand god plays in the lives of people who have gained his favor. You haven’t lived until you’ve read this book."
–Reminisce “Remy Ma” Mackie, hip-hop artist

Praise for Isaac and his ABC show "For Life":

“Isaac, his story is one of one. He’s not even a unicorn. He’s not one in a million. Everyone else would have copped out…But he’s tougher than the toughest guys I’ve hung out with. There’s a lot of tough guys out there, and what they’re afraid of is the government.”
–Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

“[Isaac’s] fortitude, determination, savvy and smarts to survive all those years in prison, his will and grit, is a great story. It’s a personal tale where we can also show the flaws in the justice system and try to bring about change.”
–Hank Steinberg, Creator and Executive Producer of “For Life,” as quoted in the Los Angeles Times

"…the debut of “For Life” serves as a small marker in an evolving national conversation.”
–Mike Hale for The New York Times

“[An] extraordinary redemption tale too unimaginable for any respectable Hollywood executive to take seriously if it were a work of fiction.”

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