Andrew Raymond Emerich
Andrew Raymond Emerich
Andrew Raymond Emerich, 27, of Reno, pleaded guilty to concealed possession of a dangerous weapon, brass knuckles. The gross misdemeanor carries a potential jail term of one year and fines up to $2,000, but the defendant was eligible for probation at the court’s discretion. He appeared in court on Monday, June 21, hoping to retain his freedom.

Around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2021, Emerich stopped at a Lovelock convenience store. “They thought I was shoplifting, but I wasn’t,” he said. Law enforcement detained Emerich and patted him down in the men’s room of the store. 

“I had brass knuckles in my back pocket,” the defendant admitted. The police found the knuckles but no other contraband. There was no bodycam recording of the frisk, known in legal circles as a terry search. Emerich spent the next 16 hours in the Pershing County jail, bailing out around 10:30 p.m.

The gladiators of ancient Greece and Rome were probably the first to inflict broken bones, cuts, concussions and internal injuries on one another with the weapons. Today, Nevada, California and New York ban the buying, selling, repairing or carrying of knuckles, which seem to be gaining in popularity.

Cochran acknowledged that his client had been convicted of the same crime within the past year. He emphasized that Emerich carried the weapon for protection, and there was no evidence he intended to harm anyone. The defense asked the judge to sentence the defendant to time-served (about one day) and a fine.

DDA Banks disagreed. “The reason this isn’t a fine-only case is that Mr. Emerich was convicted of the same offense within a year,” he said. “Usually with brass knuckles or slapjack or switchblade cases we get – ‘Gee Whiz Your Honor, I didn’t know I couldn’t have this thing. I bought it at a swap meet or county fair somewhere.’”

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse but does create a grey area. That grey area does not exist here,” he continued. “That’s why we’re asking that the defendant serve 30 days in jail.”

“I would like to pay a fine,” Emerich said. He expressed fear of losing his job at the Reno warehouse, where he works full-time during the week.

Judge Jim Shirley gave Emerich a suspended sentence of 364 days in Pershing County jail. He placed the defendant on court-supervised probation. Emerich must also serve ten weekends in jail and pay a $500 fine in addition to court costs. “No more brass knuckles,” said the judge. “There’s a reason Nevada banned them.”

Joseph Reith Grangruth, 31, of Wisconsin, admitted to violating his probation for the use of controlled substances. He last reported on June 25, 2018, three years ago. “He’s here voluntarily today,” said Winnemucca attorney Kyle Swanson. “He’s turned over a new leaf and wants to put this behind him.” 

Swanson pointed out that use of controlled substances was no longer a felony but a misdemeanor. “He’s doing well in Wisconsin and is fighting for custody of his biological daughter in Judge Montero’s courtroom in Winnemucca.”

Grangruth said he only recently found out about his outstanding warrant and had stayed out of legal trouble for seven-and-a-half years.

Swanson observed that the defendant had 205 days credit for time served. “On a 12-month prison sentence he’ll go to the fish tank and be cut loose.” He asked for a dishonorable discharge from probation.

Banks disagreed and requested Judge Shirley to impose the underlying prison sentence of 12 to 40 months.

“He decided to abscond. Now here we are,” said Banks. “The defendant ran halfway across the country. He may well go to the fish tank and get processed right out, but the State’s position is, so be it. We’re asking for the original sentence of 12- 40 months because that’s what justice demands.”

The judge sentenced Grangruth to 10 days in jail, followed by a dishonorable discharge from probation. He must pay about $200 in court fees and a public defender fee of $130.