As the hearing progressed before Judge Roy Ferguson of the 394th Judicial District of Texas, lawyer Rod Ponton’s virtual persona appeared in the form of a sad, white-grey kitten.
“I believe you have a filter turned on the video settings. You might want to…”, observed Judge Ferguson when he noticed the gaffe.
“Can you hear me judge?”, Ponton responded, the kitten lip-syncing along.
The judge is seen assuring the lawyer, “I can hear you; I think it’s a filter…”
“I don’t know how to remove it“, admitted Ponton, who said that his assistant is trying to work out how to get rid of the filter (with little luck). Undeterred, he told the Court that he was prepared to present the case.
“My assistant here is trying to but… I am prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live, I’m not a cat”, Ponton said.
“I can see that“, Judge Ferguson responded.
The video, that has since gone viral, was later tweeted out by the Judge himself, along with a general tip to be wary of Zoom filters.
“If a child used your computer before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th“, the judge tweeted.
Judge Ferguson added that the video is being released only for educational purposes and should not be used to mock the lawyer. He tweeted:
“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! Media outlets, you may use the video. It was recorded during a virtual hearing in the 394th DC of TX and released for educational purposes. It is crucial that this not be used to mock the lawyers, but instead to exemplify the legal community’s dedication to the cause of justice.”