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St. Louis County Courthouse

The St. Louis County Courthouse in Clayton is a five-floor building packed with drama, tedium and a few moments of delight. The price of admission is a trip through the first-floor metal detector, and the first stop is divorceland. The soon-to-be-unmarried wait on benches that line the long hall, some couples sitting close enough to cast angry sideways glances. Attorneys and clients discuss settlement, murmurs occasionally punctuated by "that asshole" or "she WHAT?!" If holy acrimony isn't your thing, there are trials and dockets. A few orange-suited folks wait while a jury decides their fate; in the not-so-distant past, Enterprise Rent-A-Car executives milled in the hallways, waiting for their turn to testify in a wrongful-discharge case. Mornings also usher in the call docket phenomenon -- a judicial-control device to check the status of 300 or so cases that doubles as an opportunity for lawyers to cut deals in the hallways or argue motions over who hasn't turned over which document. For those who like to witness a little happiness, stop by on Wednesday afternoons for the wedding ceremonies.

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