By 9:00 a.m. the Hennepin County courtroom's gallery is packed body to body. The air is dense and warm this winter morning; folks shed their coats quickly and fan themselves with a section of the day's newspaper or their legal documents. Somewhere in the middle of the crowd, a pager goes off. The drowsy sheriff's deputy springs into action and approaches the gallery: No beepers or cell phones in housing court. A heavyset man in the third row scowls, pats his pockets, and retrieves the offending device. Across the aisle, 3-year-old twins amuse themselves in the spring-loaded seats designed with hinges so tight they snap shut when the girls shift their slight weights. Their energy lightens some of the grim expressions around them, but the... More >>>