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Rogue divorce lawyer caught on tape breaking into house | News

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Rogue divorce lawyer caught on tape breaking into house
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KOB Eyewitness News 4 has obtained exclusive surveillance video that shows why one New Mexico lawyer has been sentenced to jail.

The video obtained as part of a 4 On Your Side Investigation shows divorce lawyer and past Otero County Bar Association President Raymond Van Arnam helping a client raid a house where her estranged husband was living.

At the time, a temporary domestic order posted on the front window stated the client needed to schedule a time to get her belongings.

The video shows Van Arnam arrive at his clients former home with several people where he pounds and kicks the front door. Video also shows Van Arnam bust down the back door of the home, rip down no trespassing signs, and take personal papers from a table in the residence.

At one point in the video the husband, Anthony Stonecipher, can be heard telling Van Arnam he is breaking the law by destroying private property.

“He thought there would be no video surveillance in here, but he was wrong,” said Stonecipher.

The video was shown in Alamogordo Magistrate Court. Van Arnam entered a plea deal on four criminal counts including criminal damage to property, criminal tresspassing, and larceny. A judge sentenced Van Arnam to pay $5,000 in restitution and serve 30 days in jail.

But the judge told Van Arnam that he may be able to serve his jail sentence on the weekends to allow him to continue to work as an attorney.

4 On Your Side checked into the status of his law license and found Van Arnam was temporarily disbarred for possession of cocaine back in 2002 but his license has since been reinstated.

4 On Your Side also learned that the states disciplinarily board had sought to immediately suspend Van Arnam's law license earlier this year over the latest incident and provided a copy of the video to the State Supreme Court.

However according to trascripts, the high court decided to allow Van Arnam to continue to practice law until he was sentenced, citing his right to due process.

No word on when Van Arnam's disciplinary hearing will take place.

> Read transcription of Van Arnam's N.M. Supreme Court proceeding (PDF)

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