“I have to return,” Postell protested, offering a convoluted explanation: “I passed the Bar at Catholic University, was admitted to Constitution Hall. I swore the Oath of Office as an attorney at Constitution Hall in 1979; graduated from Harvard Law School in 1979.”
This homeless man — who totes his belongings in white plastic bags, haunts the intersection of 17th and I streets NW and sometimes sleeps at a church — studied law alongside U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold. All of them graduated from Harvard in 1979.
In a city with thousands of homeless people, Postell may be the District’s most academically distinguished. Diplomas, awards and certificates clutter a closet at his mother’s apartment, buried artifacts of a lost life. He holds three degrees: one in accounting, one in economics, and one in law.
Listening to him talk about his life is like dive-bombing into a dream. Everything at first sounds normal. But things quickly fall into disorder. The chronology hiccups. Incongruous thoughts collide.
“You have the right to remain silent,” a deputy clerk told Postell, according to a transcript of the arraignment. “Anything you say, other than to your attorney, can be used against you.”