Court proceedings are supposed to be serious, solemn, and dignified. Silliness and shenanigans are not generally tolerated in a courtroom—a fact that judges, lawyers, and anyone who's ever been to court knows.
So when a lawyer shows up to a court hearing on Zoom with his face turned into an adorable kitten, what is the appropriate response? When the judge then points out that the lawyer has a cat filter on and the lawyer says—with his kitten face—he can't figure out how to turn it off, are the people present allowed to laugh out loud?
Because that scenario is universally hilarious. It also just happened for real in the 394th Judicial District Court of Texas.
“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” says lawyer after Zoom filter mishap “I can see that,” responds judge https://t.co/HclKlAUwbM— Lawrence Hurley (@Lawrence Hurley) 1612895216.0
According to the Houston Chronicle, lawyer Rod Ponton arrived at a hearing over Zoom with a kitten face filter activated on his computer. The filter, superimposed over Ponton's real face, reflects his speech and facial movements in the kitten's face, making it appear that the kitten is speaking.District Judge Roy Ferguson immediately pointed out Ponton's problem, and the poor lawyer explained that he and his assistant were trying to change it. Ponton-as-kitten legitimately looks panicked, which is hilariously cute. It only gets funnier when the judge reiterates, "I think it's a filter," as if there was some possibility that the lawyer may, in fact, be a cat.
Then Ponton, with his kitten face, tells Judge Ferguson that he's prepared to go forward. "I'm here, live," he says. "I'm not a cat."
THE LAWYER ACTUALLY TOLD THE JUDGE HE WASN'T A CAT Y'ALL. You cannot write this stuff. This is forever funny 2021 gold, right here.
@MikaelThalen I like "I *think* it's a filter," like he's leaving open the possibility the lawyer is in fact a cat— Sarah J (@Sarah J) 1612896432.0
The kitten mishap was apparently short-lived, as they figured out how to turn it off shortly after this clip. But still, so dang funny.
"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
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!"
These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession's dedication to ensuring that the justice system continu… https://t.co/kEn81wtiXD— Judge Roy Ferguson (@Judge Roy Ferguson) 1612898509.0
While legal proceedings are indeed serious business—and while it's impressive that those present managed to maintain their professionalism—it's nice to see Judge Ferguson share the fun of the moment. The absurdity of these times leads to absurdity at times, and being able to laugh together over such silliness is healthy comic relief.
If only Judge Ferguson had called for "claw and order," we'd have a perfect story on our hands. But this will definitely do for today.
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