A virtual courtroom hearing came to a sudden paw in southwest Texas on Tuesday when a lawyer inadvertently appeared on screen like a cat generated by a computer filter.
The ordinary civil disqualification took a cheerful turn when Rod Ponton Presidio County attorney arrived at Zoom court in the form of a fluffy white and brown kitten.
For about 30 seconds of slightly awkward but mostly funny seconds, Ponton struggled to remove the filter.
As other lawyers smiled wryly on the screen, Roy Ferguson, Judge 394 of the Judicial Tribunal, tried to follow Ponton through keystrokes. Ponton said he was ready to continue even in his feline form.
“I’m ready to move forward. I’m live here, I’m not a cat,” Ponton said.
Ferguson laughed at the kitten’s court disaster and praised all the lawyers involved.
“If a child used their computer before joining a virtual audition, check the Enlarge Video options to make sure the filters are off,” Ferguson tweeted. “This kitten just made an official announcement of a case in 394.”
Ponton said he was forced to use his secretary’s computer because the office was in the middle of moving.
“If I could make everyone laugh at my expense, I’d love to do that,” Ponton told NBC News hours after the hearing. “It’s an example of what can happen in our computer-connected world.”
According to the judge, the lawyers are like other Americans trying to make the most of the unusual working conditions caused by the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
“These fun moments are a byproduct of the legal profession’s commitment to ensuring that the judiciary works even in these difficult times,” Ferguson tweeted. “He treated him with all the dignity involved, and the screened lawyer showed incredible grace. Real professionalism everywhere!”
Bianca Britton consented.