Exploring Careers in Courts

Alumna

Alumna Adriana Molina Morin oversees criminal appeals as deputy clerk for six judges on the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi.

Alumna Adriana Molina Morin grew up in the courts, beginning as a volunteer for the local justice of the peace in high school.

Now she answers to six justices as a deputy clerk for the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi, where she oversees filings associated with criminal appeals. The 13th Court of Appeals, which hears criminal and civil appeals from district and county courts in 20 counties, is unique in that it maintains two offices, in Corpus Christi and Edinburg, concurrently. The Court handles between 600-650 appeals annually from Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Hidalgo, Jackson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Lavaca, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Wharton and Willacy counties.

“I handle criminal filings for the 13th Court of Appeals,” said Morin. “I am responsible for everything that gets filed with the court. A majority of filings come from attorneys with a very small percentage filed by appellants pro se.”

Morin’s job is to ensure that all paperwork complies with the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. First, she must determine if cases are certified for appeal; for example, plea bargains are not open for review. Then she must gather the court clerk and court reporter files for the judges considering the case and collect all motions for the court. “I have to make sure all the documents are there,” she said.
Morin followed in her mother’s footsteps in the court system, beginning her career as a summer volunteer filing papers for a local justice of the peace. “I had been exposed to it since I was in middle school,” said Morin. “It helped me get my foot in the door.”

Morin continued to work for the justice of the peace office throughout her college career. Upon graduation, she took a position as a juvenile case manager for Nueces County, where she supervised truant students. She would visit youth at school and parents at home to ensure they were following the court’s orders, which included community service, individual and parent counseling, tutoring or the completion of schoolwork.
“We definitely made a difference, and I could see immediate effects,” she said. “I would see them years later, walking down the street, and I would find out they were working and being productive members of society. That is a reward in itself.”

To help advance in her career, Morin decided to pursue an online master’s degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management at Sam Houston State University. She got the job in the 13th District Court of Appeals just as she started the program. The degree caters to criminal justice professionals who work in management or those who want to climb the career ladder. It is offered in online and weekend formats.

Morin said the degree definitely will help in her career and in life. In fact, many of the management classes have made her a better leader in her volunteer position with the Junior League of Corpus Christi.
Morin wants students to know there are many job opportunities in the criminal justice field in the courts system including court clerk, court reporters, court coordinators, and bailiffs.

“There are all sorts of things you can do,” said Morin. “There is something for everyone in the criminal justice system, depending on your interest.”

Member of The Texas State University System