Forensic Psychiatrist Expert Witness

Dr. Renee Sorrentino M.D., a forensic psychiatrist and medical expert witness, works best with insurance companies, governmental agencies, employers with occupational issues, probation officers, judges, prosecution attorneys, defense attorneys, plaintiff’s attorneys, federal agencies and courts in providing forensic psychiatric evaluations, consultation, and expert testimony on a variety of psychiatric disorders in the field of psychiatry that are contested in either civil or criminal cases.

Dr. Sorrentino’s completed a fellowship in the field of "
forensic psychiatry" with Phillip Resnick, MD at Case Western Reserve University and a clerkship with internationally recognized psychiatrist John Bradford M.D. She currently has academic appointments at both Harvard and Tufts Medical School where she teaches a variety of topics in forensic Psychiatry to medical students and psychiatry residents.

She has authored and co-authored articles published in prestigious, highly regarded, nationally recognized, and world renowned psychiatric academic journals such as The Harvard Review of Psychiatry, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Academic Psychiatry, Psychiatric Times, Psychiatric Services, and Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. She co-authored the forensic chapter entitled “Forensic Considerations” in Psychosomatic Medicine and a chapter on “Paraphilias” in Kaplan & Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry Ninth Edition. Her academic participation ensures that she stays in the forefront of Forensic Psychiatry research.

Dr. Sorrentino provides psychiatric consultation including psychiatric evaluations and psychiatric expert witness testimony in civil cases involving emotional distress in personal Injury, wrongful termination, job discrimination, fitness for duty, sexual harassment, malpractice litigation, disability in Worker’s Compensation and Social Security cases. She is also an experienced board certified forensic psychiatrist in
capacity evaluations in the determination of guardianship, conservatorship, informed consent, right to refuse treatment, and testamentary capacity. Her area of specialty within forensic psychiatry is the treatment and evaluation of individuals with paraphilias or sexually deviant disorders. Dr. Sorrentino provides sex offender evaluation / risk assessments, Offender Registry Board appeal evaluations, and appropriateness for chemical castration. Her experience as a psychiatrist in family law includes evaluation of parental fitness, termination of parental rights, parental custody and visitation in divorce.

In criminal cases, Dr. Sorrentino provides the prosecution or defense with expert psychiatric evaluations, consultation, and forensic expert witness testimony involving
sanity criminal responsibility, competency to stand trial, competency to enter a plea, competency to waive Miranda rights, competency to be executed, forced confession, false confession, diminished capacity, competency for self representation, competency to be sentenced, mitigation, capital sentencing, capacity to form intent, diminished capacity defense, aid in sentencing, psychiatric autopsy investigation, and the defense of Battered Woman Syndrome. In adjudicated cases, Dr. Sorrentino provides opinion regarding prediction of future dangerousness and recidivism, mental health treatment in the correctional system and alternatives to incarceration.

Psychiatric Forensic Reports
Dr. Sorrentino’s court experience as an
expert witness psychiatrist and forensic evaluator are evident in her psychiatric forensic evaluation reports. Her reports are comprehensive and concise, providing the clarity that is easily understood by the courts, judges, jurors, and attorneys. Forensic reports address a variety of psychiatric issues, which arise in the legal arena.

Forensic Consultation and Evaluation
Dr. Sorrentino will review medical records, evaluate the standard of care, interpret forensic psychiatric and clinical findings with attorneys, lawyers, medical professionals, courts, teachers, mental health agencies, employers, patients and their families, as well as any interested parties. If needed, she will also provide expert witness deposition and trial testimony.

As a researcher, instructor, conference speaker, book reviewer, and Author/Co-Author of professional journals in psychiatry and forensics, Dr. Sorrentino has the experience, background, and medical training needed to provide persuasive
expert witness testimony and consultation in the field of forensic psychiatry.

If you are an attorney for the prosecution or the defense and would like to speak with Dr. Sorrentino, you can contact her assistant at 617-479-4501 to schedule an appointment.

Forensic Psychiatrist Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can a forensic psychiatrist help the defense or the accused in a criminal case?

Answer: They may be able to help the defense determine whether psychiatric issues are relevant to the matter. More specifically, the psychiatrist can assist the defense in determining whether a mental illness was present at the time of the defense and whether the defendant is currently suffering from a mental illness. These determinations will assist the defense in the consideration of defense strategies.

What is the role of a forensic psychiatrist in a civil court case?

Answer: There role in a civil case is to answer the specific civil question asked by the attorney.

Do forensic psychiatrists have the expertise and training to verify wills, determine  a defendant competency to stand trial or refuse medical treatment?

Answer: Yes. They may perform evaluations to determine if an individual has capacity to make a will (testamentary capacity), capacity to stand trial (competency to stand trial evaluation), and capacity to refuse medical treatment (medication guardianship). Capacity is the term used to refer to an individual’s mental ability to perform a specific act. Competency is a legal determination.

Does a psychiatrist have the same education and training as a forensic psychologist?

Answer: No. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have received a Medical Degree. They have also completed a psychiatry residency program. Forensic psychologists have completed a psychology degree in graduate school.

What is the typical or average cost, contingency fee or retainer for an expert witness in forensic psychiatry?

Answer: It is unethical for forensic psychiatrist to accept contingency fees. Retainer fees are acceptable and depend on the specific case. You can expect to pay a psychiatrist at least half of the total cost of the forensic evaluation in a retainer.

Can I use an expert witness consultant psychiatrist in a criminal case to establish or prove that a defendant or the accused has the Competency to Stand Trial or is Not guilty of the crime by reason of insanity?

Answer: A psychiatrist can testify on the matter of Competency or Insanity if they are deemed an expert witness by the courts.

What do forensic psychiatrist do in preparation to testifying in court?

Answer: They prepare for testifying by reviewing the details of the case with counsel.

What are the qualifications of a forensic trained psychiatrist as opposed to a psychiatrist?

Answer: Forensic psychiatrist have completed a fellowship which includes a year of training in forensic psychiatry.

What are some type of forensic issues that a psychiatrist can provide expert testimony or opinion for either the prosecution or defense?

Answer: They can provide consultation and expert testimony for the prosecution or defense on a variety of psychiatric legal issues involving not guilty by reason of insanity defense, competency to stand trial, death penalty, sexual harassment, Psychiatric Disability, Fitness for duty, Violence Risk Assessment, competency to be executed, criminal responsibility, etc..

What is the role of forensic psychiatrist in the prosecution of sex offenders or those that have committed sexual crimes such as rape?

Answer: The psychiatrist with specialized forensic training may be asked to evaluate a defendant’s mental status at the time of the sexual offense (sanity evaluation), risk of sexual offender recidivism, whether the individual meets the criteria for commitment as a sexually dangerous offender and recommendations for treatment.

What type of psychiatric services can a forensic trained psychiatrist provide?

Answer: They can provide psychiatric treatment including medications and therapy. They provide these services in their capacity as a general psychiatrist.

Do psychiatrist need to interview the defendant to render an opinion?

Answer: They may not need to interview the defendant to render an opinion. If the data available is conclusive psychiatrist can offer an opinion in the absence of an interview.

Do forensic psychiatrists specialize in any areas?
Answer: Some psychiatrist have specialized in civil or criminal matters or in specific types of forensic and psychiatric evaluations. Some examples include sanity, sex offenders, disability, and sexual harassment.

Can a forensic psychiatrist testify in a criminal case for either the prosecution or defense?

Answer: They may testify as an expert witness for either the prosecution or the defense.

You can visit our link on
Psychiatry FAQs for more questions and answers in the field of psychiatry and forensics.

Psychiatry On-Line Publications

Psychiatric News
The American Journal of Psychiatry
Psychiatric Services
Academic Psychiatry
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Psychiatric Times
Psychiatric Annals
American Psychiatric Publishing
American Psychiatric Association
American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

Expert forensic psychiatrist Renee Sorrentino provides consultation, evaluation, and
expert witness testimony throughout the United States including the following states: California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, Nevada, Chicago, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Colorado, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Oregon, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Virginia, Georgia, Minnesota, Utah, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa, etc..

She can also provide expert consultation and witness testimony on a variety of disorders in the field of
forensic psychiatry in the following cities: New York NY, Los Angeles CA, Chicago IL, Houston TX, Philadelphia PA, Phoenix AZ, San Antonio TX, San Diego CA, Dallas TX, San Jose CA, Jacksonville FL, Indianapolis IN, San Francisco CA, Austin TX, Columbus OH, Fort Worth TX, Charlotte NC, Detroit MI, El Paso TX, Memphis TN, Baltimore MD, Boston MA, Seattle WA, Washington DC, Nashville TN, Denver CO, Louisville KY, Milwaukee WI, Portland OR, Las Vegas NV, Oklahoma City OK, Albuquerque NM, Tucson AZ, Fresno CA, Sacramento CA, Long Beach CA, Kansas City MO, Mesa AZ, Virginia Beach VA, Atlanta GA, Colorado Springs CO, Omaha NE, Raleigh NC, Miami FL, Cleveland OH, Tulsa OK, Oakland CA, Minneapolis MN, Wichita KS, Arlington TX, Bakersfield CA, New Orleans LA, Honolulu HI, Anaheim CA, Tampa FL, Aurora CO, Santa Ana CA, St Louis MO, Pittsburgh PA, Corpus Christi TX, Riverside CA, etc..

We encourage our guests to bookmark this website and check back regularly as we continue to do our best to add new content in hopes of making this site one of the most sought after, best rated, and top ranked informational website in forensic and general psychiatry.

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Journal Articles, Book Reviews, Conference Proceedings:

Sorrentino R. Review of “Textbook of Forensic Psychiatry”. Psychiatric Services November 2006; 57:1662-a.

Resnick P, Sorrentino R: Chapter 8, “Forensic Considerations”. Psychosomatic Medicine, Editors Blumenfield M. and Strain JJ. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2006; 91-106.

Cobb T, Sorrentino R, Ostermeyer B and
Noffsinger S. “
Forensic Pitfalls of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law annual meeting; October 2003.

Sorrentino R, Ostermeyer
B, Hershberger J and
Scarno V. “
Geriatric Forensic Psychiatry:
Dirty Old Men or
Prisoners of Age?
” American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law annual meeting; October 2004.

Legal Information

Standard for Admitting
Expert Witness Testimony
Case Law
(Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993))

Admissible Expert Opinion ( Frye v. United States, 54 App. D. C. 46,47, 293 F.1d 13, 1014)

CV Highlights
~ Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University (Phillip J. Resnick, MD)

~ Board Certified in Psychiatry

~ Diplomat in Psychiatry, Neurology, and Forensic Psychiatry

~ Instructor at Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Residence Program

~ Instructor at Tufts School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

Journal Articles, Book Reviews, Conference Proceedings:

Sorrentino R, Hatters-Friedman S and Stanokowski J. “Are Sex Offenders Criminally Responsible?” American Psychiatric Association annual meeting; May 2007.

Sorrentino R, Resnick P. “Forensic Issues in C-L Psychiatry.” Psychiatric Times 2005 Dec; Vol. XXIII, Issue 14.