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Indictments surprise attorneys

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OGDENSBURG - Defense attorneys were caught by surprise Thursday when four cocaine possession suspects were indicted by a St. Lawrence County grand jury just before they were set to appear at an Ogdensburg City Court preliminary hearing to weigh the charges against them.

Charles J.H. “Whiz” Caviness, 24, Eldridge “L” Gossom, 25, Andre L. “Dre” Wilson, 40, and Tige K. “Jeeb” Smith Jr., 24, all of Buffalo, were indicted on Dec. 6 charges against each of felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

But the indictments came as a surprise to attorneys for Mr. Gossom and Mr. Wilson, both of whom were in city court for a scheduled preliminary hearing before Judge William R. Small. Mr. Caviness was absent, having waived right to the proceeding, which is held to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

So was Mr. Smith, whose attorney wanted him testify. Mary E. Rain, of Ogdensburg, conceded that whenever a grand jury votes to indict, there is no need for a preliminary hearing. But she was not aware District Attorney Nicole A. Duve held her client for the grand jury that morning until she arrived in Ogdensburg for the hearing.

“Basically, she (Ms. Duve) hijacked my client,” Ms. Rain said. “That grand jury indictment is a farce.”

Ms. Duve said Mr. Smith’s right were protected at all times, but couldn’t comment on the grand jury proceedings.

“It’s confidential by law,” she said.

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