19 July 2015
The judge’s glance fell on the homeless man accused of sleeping next to an office building in downtown Washington.
It was a Saturday afternoon in early April in the city’s Supreme Court when the homeless Alfred Postell was on trial. The judge was Thomas Motley.
“You have the right to remain silent” a deputy secretary said to Postell, according to the minutes. “Whatever you say, except to your lawyer, it can be used against you.”
“I am a lawyer he responded.” The judge ignored his claim reciting the charges of illegal entry, which jeopardizes the trial.
The homeless man dis not give up and said he was a graduate of Harvard Law School in 1979. It was then that Motley remembered him as he had graduated that same year from the prestigious university.
In a city with thousands homeless, Postell is the only homeless with three degrees: in accounting, finance and law. Born in 1948, he was the only child of a seamstress and a manufacturer of tents. Initially he worked in a tax consulting company and earned a lot of money. He managed to be admitted to the Law School of Harvard, probably the toughest law school in the world. He was one of the best students of the year and his success offered him a very comfortable life.
He worked for the law firm of Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge. At that time he was the only black lawyer in this law firm. Colleagues remember that he was a cultured, thoughtful and a well-spoken lawyer.
At the pick of his career and success, schizophrenia came to his life. He thought then that pursue him, that the police looking to arrest him. Soon he lost his job. And with it his life. When his mother could not else to take care of him, she put him in an institution.