The “Pretext” Phone Call

A concept that the Michigan State Police have endorsed in CSC cases in the “pretext” phone call. The “pretext” phone call is an investigative tool that is utilized in a wide array of criminal investigations but has the most potent impact in crimes of a sexual nature.

The “pretext” call is a recorded telephone call between the victim and the suspect. The call is generated by the victim who will generally prepare a script and work under the supervision of an investigating officer. The Michigan State Police Department find the “pretext” call helpful because there is often a lack of physical evidence in these types of cases and the information gathered through this technique can come into admissibility as a “party admission” at trial. To learn more about the “pretext” call, we turned to some of the leaders in the field of criminal defense litigation across the state of Michigan.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has developed a law firm that is known as the strongest in the state of Michigan. When asked about the “pretext” call, Grabel said, “A call is an effective tool for the prosecution, but it is viewed in very different fashions in different jurisdictions. In a jurisdiction such as Caro, the jury applauds the police for the call even if nothing fruitful comes from it. In a place like Washtenaw County, if the call is unsuccessful, it could destroy a prosecutor’s case. The defendant needs always to be careful when they engage in conversations because the “Collins Call” can destroy one’s case.”

Joe Brugnoli is a criminal defense attorney for Grabel and Associates and has developed a reputation as one of the top lawyer’s in the Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brugnoli provided commentary when he stated, “If you are being investigated for a crime, specifically a CSC, you have to assume that any call you receive from law enforcement and especially the alleged victim, is being recorded. Protect your rights, exercise your right to remain silent.”

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan and his firm does many capital cases and specializes in criminal defense. McManus was quoted as saying, “Each court in the state of Michigan is completely different in their application of this concept. In courts such as Lapeer or Caro, the pretext call has been proven to have a strong effect on the jury. In a court such as the “Frank Murphy Hall of Justice,” the call may not be as consequential. The smaller the jury pool, the more respect the pretext call has, the larger the pool, the greater the chance the defense lawyer has to nullify the value of the call.”

While knowledge of the court system in each county is essential to tackling the issue of the “pretext” call, it is critical that even the innocent suspect should be wary of any telephone conversation they engage in within the state of Michigan or across state lines.

William Amadeo is a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a Senior Associate Attorney for Grabel and Associates. In addition to his legal duties, Amadeo is a widely published writer and the owner of “BAT Tutoring” in Lansing, Michigan. Amadeo can be reached at

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