Zoom blooper turns lawyer into a kitten: 'I'm here live, I'm not a cat'

It's the long paw of the law.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

A Zoom kitten filter spiced up a Texas court hearing.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

A legal proceeding in Texas that should have been your normal, solemn affair turned into an unintentional zoo when a lawyer made a Zoom court appearance with an adorable kitten filter obscuring his face. (Here's how to do it yourself.)

Judge Roy Ferguson of the 394th Judicial District of Texas in Brewster County used the occasion to deliver a timely tech tip for Zoom users on Tuesday: "If a child used your computer before you join a virtual hearing, check the Zoom video options to be sure filters are off."

Despite a warning that "any capture of video or audio of this stream is prohibited, and may constitute contempt of court with a punishment of up to $500 fine and 180 days in the county jail," the district court posted a YouTube clip of the comical occurrence. 

There's no sensitive information in the footage, just 100% pure comedy gold. "I'm here live. I'm not a cat," insists the lawyer, identified on his Zoom screen as Rod Ponton. "I can see that," the judge responds before kindly trying to walk the lawyer through fixing the filter issue. 

Ferguson filled in some more details, tweeting that the "fun" moment was a byproduct of what it takes to keep the justice system functioning during a pandemic. "Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!"

If only the TV show Night Court were still around, the script would write itself.