Attorney-at-paw? Filter makes lawyer look like cat in court

ALPINE, TEXAS (AP) — A West Texas judge has a word of caution to those attending court hearings via Zoom: Always check for filters before logging on.

Judge Roy Ferguson’s warning comes after an attorney accidentally joined a Tuesday video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a Zoom filter that made him appear like a fluffy white kitten.

“I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton said.

“I can see that,” replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling.

The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter.

The judge said on Twitter: “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!”

In an interview, Ponton said he has fielded calls from around the world and has been booked for national television. “I always wanted to be famous for being a great lawyer. Now I’m famous for appearing in court as a cat,” he told The Associated Press.

This image from video shows a hearing from the 394th Judicial District Court of Texas. PHOTO: AP