'I'm not a cat': Lawyer's hilarious Zoom hearing blunder

Ash Cant
·3-min read

A judge has shared a hilarious video, urging people to be cautious when appearing in court through Zoom, after a lawyer struggled to remove a cat filter.

Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton joined a civil forfeiture court hearing via Zoom on Tuesday, appearing as a fluffy white cat.

“Mr Ponton I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings,” Judge Roy Ferguson is heard saying very kindly in the video.

Rod Ponton accidentally appeared in a court hearing with a cat filter on. Source:YouTube/394th District Court of Texas - Live Stream
Rod Ponton accidentally appeared in a court hearing with a cat filter on. Source:YouTube/394th District Court of Texas - Live Stream

Mr Ponton explains it is a filter that he does not know how to turn it off, saying his assistant is with him and is also trying to remove the kitten filter.

“But, I’m prepared to go forward with it,” Mr Ponton says.

“I’m here live — I’m not a cat.”

Fortunately the other lawyers in the Zoom call seem to be amused by the filter and Judge Ferguson then begins to explain how to remove the filter.

Judge offers Zoom tips after filter mishap

Judge Ferguson shared a clip of the meeting on Twitter and offered some advice for people who are conducting business and meetings on Zoom.

He urged people to check Zoom settings to ensure filters are off before joining a virtual meeting.

Despite the filter, he praised the professionalism of those in the hearing.

“These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession's dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times,” Judge Ferguson said on Twitter.

“Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”

He added the video was shared to social media for “educational purposes” and should be used to “exemplify the legal community's dedication to the cause of justice”.

In an interview, Mr Ponton said he has fielded calls from around the world and has been booked for national television.

“I always wanted to be famous for being a great lawyer. Now I’m famous for appearing in court as a cat,” he told The Associated Press.

Speaking to Vice’s Motherboard, Mr Ponton explained he was using his secretary’s computer for the hearing, though he said the hearing was “normal” after the filter was removed.

‘Cheers to you, resilient cattorney’: Social media reacts to filter

People on social media were loving the footage of the hearing, with many amused and impressed by how all parties involved handled the situation.

“My favourite line is ‘I'm prepared to go forward with it’,”one person said on Twitter.

“Isn’t that the spirit of the bar during this ridiculous time? Cheers to you, resilient cattorney.”

“I am a courtroom sketch artist, and I am laughing so hard imagining trying to draw this,” another person said on Twitter.

“All involved did a great job of keeping it together ... which just makes it funnier. Watch the council top right do a great job of staying serious.”

Another person suggested professionals should all spice up their Zoom hearings.

“I, for one, would only want to work with law professionals who can do their work with zoom animal filters on,” they said on Twitter.

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