‘I Am Not a Cat,’ Lawyer Using Zoom Cat Filter Tells Judge

“All it was was a mistake. It was taken off and we had the hearing as normal,” the lawyer told Motherboard.
February 9, 2021, 7:13pm
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394th District Court of Texas - Live Stream

A court case in Texas was delayed by an adorable kitten filter. Lawyer Rod Ponton showed up to virtual court in the 394th district of Texas with a kitten filter turned on.

His mouth moved, his eyes twitched back and forth, but he was a cat. Not a man. “Mr. Ponton I believe you have a filter turned on in your video settings,” Hon. Judge Roy B. Ferguson said.

“Can you hear me judge?” The cat-Ponton said.

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“I can hear you,” Judge Ferguson said. “I think it’s a filter.”

“It is and I don’t know how to remove it,” Ponton said. “I’ve got my assistant here and she’s trying to remove it but uh … I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”


Reached by phone by Motherboard, Ponton said he was unaware that the court had posted this video and was concerned it had his name on it.

“Oh, that was just a mistake by my secretary,” he said. “I was using her computer and for some reason she had that filter on. I took it off and replaced it with my face. It was a case involving a man trying to exit the United States with contraband and contraband cash. All it was was a mistake. It was taken off and we had the hearing as normal.”

Gibbs Bauer, another one of the attorneys on the call, told Motherboard he believed that a glitch caused Ponton to become a cat: “Have no idea what caused that,” he said. “Probably just a computer glitch.”

Judge Ferguson tweeted about the incident after the hearing concluded. “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,” he said. “This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th (sound on).”

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

The 394th district in Texas represents several counties in the West of the country, near Marfa. The Honorable Judge Roy Ferguson has previously preceded over a mock trial involving high school student prosecuting Kylo Ren for murder. He was also once in a barber shop quartet.