When Judge Roy Ferguson opened up virtual proceedings of the 394th Judicial District Court in Texas on Zoom on Tuesday, he was not expecting to see two lawyers and a kitten.
The cute blue-eyed “cat” in the bottom right corner was actually county attorney Rod Ponton, covered by a filter.
“Mr Ponton, I believe you have filter turned on in the video settings,” said the judge.
Ponton said his assistant was trying to fix the settings.
“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” he said.
“I can see that,” said the judge.
As the video went viral on social media, Ferguson wrote in a tweet: “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.”
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. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th (sound on). #lawtwitter #OhNo @zoom_ushttps://t.co/I0zaj0wu6K— Judge Roy Ferguson (@JudgeFergusonTX) February 9, 2021
The 69-year-old Ponton told Reuters that he was not sure how the filter had appeared.
“I logged into my secretary’s computer to appear at this hearing via Zoom, and when everybody’s ready the judge calls the case and everybody’s face is supposed to pop up on Zoom.
“And everybody’s face popped up except mine. Mine was a cat,” he said.
The judge helped remove the filter and the hearing proceeded, he explained.
Judge Ferguson called it a “fun moment.”
“Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace,” he said.