CLEVELAND—The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Gamso as legal director. Gamso, a Toledo defense lawyer and ACLU of Ohio volunteer attorney, assumes leadership of the agency’s statewide legal department and litigation docket today, June 1.

“The people of Ohio deserve the diligence of the ACLU to defend freedom,” Gamso said. “I foresee lots of travel to bring the mission of the ACLU of Ohio to communities across the state.”

Gamso has been an active member of the ACLU since 1984, serving as past president of the Northwest Ohio chapter and vice president of the Ohio Board of Directors. He is president and co-founder of the Maumee Valley Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to the Public Defender Commission. A passionate opponent of the death penalty, Gamso has represented about 5% of Ohio’s death row prisoners at any given time.

Gamso was recently declared an Ohio “SuperLawyer” of 2004 by Law and Politics Magazine. He was named to the prestigious list based on a survey sent to 33,000 Ohio attorneys. Lawyers chosen for the honor comprise only 5% of attorneys in the Ohio Bar Association.

Gamso completed graduate coursework in English at Michigan State University and received his J.D. from the Texas Tech University School of Law in 1987.

Gamso will soon make his public debut in communities throughout Ohio during the agency’s 2004 Summer Freedom Tour. Gamso will speak to audiences about pressing civil liberties issues, including gay marriage and the USA PATRIOT Act.

“In the last few years, the government has stripped Americans of basic civil liberties in the name of national security,” Gamso said, “but we do no service to freedom when we suppress it in order to save it.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio is a state affiliate of the national ACLU. Funded entirely through charitable gifts and membership dues, the ACLU defends individual rights through litigation, lobbying, and educational initiatives. The ACLU of Ohio has a staff office in Cleveland and community and campus chapters located in every region of Ohio. There are over 17,900 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and over 400,000 nationwide.