“I am Not a Cat,” Texas Lawyer to a Judge during Virtual Hearing after Zoom Filter Mishap

A hilarious incident from a virtual courtroom in Texas involving a lawyer, judge and an unfortunate Zoom filter mishap has taken social media by storm. An attorney found himself turned into a fluffy cat, during a live civil forfeiture hearing prompting the Judge to offer assistance. 


The Coronavirus pandemic had brought the world to a standstill but a recent incident involving a Texas lawyer has made the world adjusting to the new normal laugh out loud. A judge in the United States has valuable advice, always check whether filters are turned on before attending a virtual court hearing.

A lawyer from Presidio County, Rod Ponton’s words, “I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” during a civil forfeiture case hearing has taken the internet by storm. Ponton found himself struggling with the filter settings until Judge Roy Ferguson helped him turn it off. In a hilarious exchange, the Judge and Ponton try to make sense of the situation as he says, “I can hear you. I think it’s a filter.”

Despite the rocky start, many have hailed Ponton for asking the Judge to proceed with the hearing acknowledging the absurdity of the situation but committing to his profession. Since its appearance on the internet, it has been shared by thousands of netizens across the globe. The dignified response has earned him praise from all over the world.

The hashtag, ‘LawTwitter’ normally, a space of serious and ponderous legal debate has been flooded with memes, conversations and reactions on the viral incident.

Judge Roy Ferguson took to social media micro-blogging platform, Twitter, to comment that “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!”

The “filtered lawyer” as the judge called him told The Associated Press, that he had always hoped to be a renowned attorney but now he has become an internet sensation for coming to court as a cat. He adds that while he was upset initially about the story of his mishap going viral, he later “tried to laugh along with the rest of the country.”


Virtual hearings have been the norm in India and abroad since the outbreak of the pandemic to curb the spread of the virus. Commenting on how the virus has affected the day-to-day life of people, he said, “I think we all need a little humour after the rough luck we’ve had the last few months.”

(Manya Saini is a student at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, and an intern with The Leaflet.)
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