Michael Welner, M.D. has been chosen to be the principal forensic psychiatrist in some of America’s most sensitive litigation in recent years, particularly in highly complex cases and frontier issues. After establishing himself as a clinician specializing in working with patients who had failed to respond to treatment, Dr. Welner became known for his unusual capacity for finding answers to elusive forensic mysteries. Board Certified in three disciplines, Dr. Welner has defined by example the application of the cutting edge of science to forensic practice. His case experience has spanned the range of criminal, civil, employment, and securities law. Through careful investigation and detail-oriented interviewing, Dr. Welner has embodied diligence and objectivity as the staple of the forensic examination.
In addition to his acclaimed casework, Dr. Welner is responsible for a number of groundbreaking innovations in forensic science. As founder and Chairman of The Forensic Panel, he devised and implemented the first peer-review protocols in the United States for forensic consultation. Under Dr. Welner’s leadership, The Forensic Panel has achieved his vision of presenting "the Last Word" to retaining attorneys, opposing counsel, and the courts, consistently helping to resolve cases without appearance at trial. Peer-review is now increasingly utilized by institutions who demand a higher grade of forensics, including the FBI.
Dr. Welner has pioneered the effort toward establishing a clinical and forensic standardization of the worst of crimes, through The Depravity Standard. The Depravity Scale is a history and evidence-driven forensic instrument helping to define legal words like "heinous," "atrocious," and "depraved" for purposes of fair and consistent application to criminal sentencing, and is the first forensic science research protocol ever developed to include large scale public participation. This landmark research has formulated an approach to what was once thought unthinkable – defining evil in criminal and everyday human interactions, and with an aim toward encouraging therapeutic initiative. Dr. Welner has also contributed groundbreaking research on drug-facilitated sex assault that has established a typology of such offenders, as well as having devised protocols for studying false confessions.
Dr. Welner founded and served as editor-in-chief of The Forensic Echo, originating the format of a breaking-science, practitioner-written forensic monthly that combined commentary with case and science updates. He has been invited to testify before three state legislatures on mental retardation and on video game violence. In 2007, ABC News signed Dr. Welner to be the first forensic psychiatrist to consult behind the scenes to its acclaimed Law and Justice Unit, contributing to the responsible coverage of breaking news stories. He was credited, for example, for having instigated network news television to remove the killer’s videos and pictures following the Virginia Tech massacre. He has been recognized across disciplines and regions as an invited Distinguished Lecturer for the American College of Legal Medicine and Yale University School of Law, among others. Dr. Welner continues to treat patients in a New York-based clinical practice.
Click here for Dr. Welner's full Curriculum Vitae.