Mortified Lawyer Appears in Court as a Cat, Blames Zoom Filter

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Screenshot: Gizmodo/394th District Court of Texas/YouTube (Other)

In a sign of America returning to a state of regular-level dystopia, lawyer Rod Ponton is taking the internet by storm after he accidentally left on a Zoom filter during a court hearing, making him appear to as a large, watery-eyed cat.

“Mr. Ponton I believe you have a filter turned on in your video settings,” Judge Roy Ferguson of Brewster County Texas’s 394th Judicial District Court, says in the video. Ponton is then heard making a kind of painful moan as he scrambles to de-catify himself before admitting, dril-like: “I don’t know how to remove it”

A fumbling Ponton added, “I’m here live. I’m not a cat.” Judge Ferguson—who made the pro decision of leaving his camera off—seemed unmoved by this additional bit of context.

Speaking with Motherboard, Ponton blamed the filter mishap on his assistant whose computer he says he was using. “For some reason, she had that filter on,” he said, nimbly driving the same bus under which, in that moment, he threw this unnamed assistant. The lawyer said the case involved someone trying to smuggle “contraband” out of the United States and that “we had the hearing as normal” once he figured out how to remove the cat filter.


The reason we know any of this happened is that the court posted the video to YouTube on Tuesday, and Judge Ferguson himself tweeted it out.

“IMPORTANT ZOOM TIP: If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off,” the judge tweeted. He added: “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. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”


Judge Ferguson claims the clip isn’t intended “to mock the lawyers, but instead to exemplify the legal community’s dedication to the cause of justice.” It remains unknown whether the cat lawyer was able to successfully argue his side of the case.