Legal fees in censorship case mount for Kentucky State University

While the frustration of waiting for a ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Kentucky State University yearbook and newspaper adviser censorship case continues, lawyers for the school may be the only ones still smiling.

Documents obtained from the university by the Student Press Law Center indicate that the university had — as of April 19 — spent more than $60,000 to defend against charges that it had illegally confiscated the student yearbook and transferred the student media adviser to a secretarial position for refusing to censor the student newspaper.

The records indicate the Frankfort law firm of Johnson, Judy, True and Guarnieri, LLP, billed KSU between $45 and $125 an hour to represent the university in two cases. The first, Cullen v. Gibson, which was brought by the former student media adviser, cost the university just over $26,000. That case ended in 1998. The second case, Kincaid v. Gibson, had cost the school about $34,500 and remains active. The amount does not include the cost to the university to argue Kincaid v. Gibson to a full panel of the Sixth Circuit on May 30.

By contrast, the school