Legal Ethics

Divorce attorney who helped client break into spouse's home loses law license for 2 years

A New Mexico divorce attorney who made headlines after being caught on a surveillance video helping a matrimonial client break into the home of her estranged husband has had his law license suspended for two years.

Raymond T. Van Arnam, 61, will also have to undergo a psychological examination before he is readmitted, the Alamogordo Daily News reports.

His lawyer, Todd Holmes, called Van Arnam a dedicated, hardworking lawyer who let his emotions get the best of him during the October 2011 incident.

“I believe New Mexico and Otero County have lost a talented, great, aggressive and passionate attorney,” Holmes said. “Ray really did passionately represent his clients, especially females in divorce matters. He had a lot of compassion for his client, Melissa A. Stonecipher. … The whole purpose was to get the baby items and some medications.”

Stonecipher’s estranged husband, Anthony, left the home with a roommate from the rear as the lawyer and client approached from the front. A video linked to an ABC News article about the fray includes a subsequent driveway confrontation between the lawyer and Anthony Stonecipher and says Van Arnam took legal papers off a desk during the entry into his home.

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Earlier coverage: “‘Rogue’ Lawyer Gets 30 Days in Jail After Tape Catches Him Helping Divorce Client Break into Home”

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