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Lawyer Jailed After Being Caught On Tape During Home Invasion Alamogordo, NM — New Mexico divorce lawyer and past Otero County Bar Association President Raymond Van Arnam has been jailed after pleading no contest for helping a client break into a house where her estranged husband was living.

At the time of the Oct. 28, 2011 incident, Van Arnam was representing Melissa Stonecipher in her petition for divorce from her husband. Stonecipher was separated from her husband at the time of the incident. A temporary domestic order posted on the front window of her estranged husband’s residence stated the client needed to schedule a time to get her belongings. The video shows Van Arnam arrive at his client’s former home with several people where he pounds and kicks the front door.

In a 911 call to the Alamogordo Department of Public Safety, the victim, Stonecipher’s husband, stated that his estranged wife, Stonecipher, and her attorney, Van Arnam, were attempting to forcefully enter into his personal residence. The surveillance video showed Stonecipher’s husband and a roommate leaving the residence. Van Arnam is shown rapping on the driver window with a lollipop and then speaking to the estranged husband.

After Van Arman is captured breaking down the back door, he unlocked the front door to allow two other men into the residence to remove numerous pieces of baby furniture and baby accessories from the residence, then loaded the items into a vehicle. Van Arnam is also seen on video surveillance footage removing the posted, “No Trespassing” sign located in the front window of the residence.

At a particularly touching moment, surveillance video captures Van Arnam telling his client during the break-in, “I need a hug… I need some relaxation.” During the subsequently delivered extended embrace, Van Arnem then says “Shhh. Shhh. Shhh. Oh yeah.” Blech.

Predictably, Van Arnam’s attorney Todd Holmes said prior to the plea agreement and sentencing that – despite the posted notice and pesky court order – Van Arnam was in the right. Holmes said Van Arnam, “let Stonecipher’s husband get to him” because her husband had moved another woman into the residence while his wife was pregnant with their child.

“I think the law gave Stonecipher permission to get in the house,” Holmes said. “On the law, I think the law was on Van Arnam’s side. He admitted he could’ve done things different.”

Special prosecutor Matthew Chandler countered that it was a simple home invasion.

“Van Arnam gathered his crew of employees and his client, pulled up to the house in droves and demanded entry,” Chandler said. “When he couldn’t get in, he intimidated the victim into leaving his own property and then forced his way into the house where he and his posse cleaned this victim out. It was a planned attack against a person and his property, without any legal backing at all, and Van Arnam needs to be punished.”

Van Arnam entered a plea deal on four criminal counts including criminal damage to property, criminal trespassing, and larceny. Van Arnam will be placed on 334 days of supervised probation after he completes his 30 days in jail. He is subject to drug and alcohol testing. He must also have no contact with the victim in the case. Van Arnam will have to pay a total of $2,732 in court costs and fines along with $5,000 in restitution to the victim in the case. He will also have to do 100 days of community service by either pro bono work or through some other community service means.

Records show that Van Arnam had been temporarily disbarred for a possession of cocaine conviction back in 2003 but his license was reinstated. The New Mexico State Disciplinary Board had tried unsuccessfully to suspend Van Arnam’s law license earlier this year over this latest incident and provided a copy of the video to the State Supreme Court. Transcripts show the high court decided to allow Van Arnam to continue to practice law until he was sentenced, citing his right to due process. Van Arnam’s law license will be the topic of an upcoming hearing.

Melissa Stonecipher also pleaded no contest to criminal damage to property of a household member in Magistrate Court. Stonecipher was placed on 364 days of supervised probation for her part in the incident.

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Comments


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  • kimbev69

    Seriously her soon to be ex dumps her while preggers and wont let her get the baby stuff? She prob tried to schedule a time and he kept changing it or saying no, sad for a baby to be born into this situation, the lawyer is just bonkers

  • Jess

    The shit people do outta spite , just craziness ! She should have taken the baby stuff with her the day he kicked her out.

  • Cory

    He was a pro boner

  • sugarpie

    I guess if you’re gonna break the law, it’s easier to have your lawyer right there with you.  Video evidence is always a bonus.  Not many lawyers will be there for you all the way through.    

  • Zazen

    Yeah, I know I haven’t seen that situation played out half a dozen times or so amongst acquaintances and co-workers. >.>

    On the other hand, what a dumbass. Lawyers know, or should know, that the law even protects douchebag ex-husbands.

  • Sam

    What kind of grown, educated man walks around with a frikkin lollipop??? That’s the part that has me lmao the most.
    I guess the kind who thinks home invasion is a bitchin’ hobby “oh yeah”.

  • http://truecrimereport.com iLLusionS

    Maybe it is just me here, but it seems this guy went above and beyond the attorney/client issue, as if he had more personal intrest in maybe …her..?

  • http://justiceforcaylee.synthasite.com/ shyloh

    Sounds like another Jose Baez. Na can’t be! 

  • http://justiceforcaylee.synthasite.com/ shyloh

    And attorney having an attorney. How cool is that. The judge is no better. He doesn’t need to be a judge anymore. This world is so screwed up. Okay, maybe not the world but the judicial system.

  • Zazen

    That’s kinda what I was thinking…

  • http://twitter.com/AngelsMom0806 Angels Mom

    I’d hire him.

  • JGo555

    The only thing I hav to say is that the victim is a douchebag for not giving the PREGNANT woman her baby shit. It sounded to me like she was gonna have custody of the baby & the newborns need a breastfeeding mama more than daddy.
    I am not downplaying daddy’s role when the baby comes, I’m just saying the dude should’ve given that stuff to the woman right away.

  • JGo555

    Unless he was a hypoglycemic or gay man? No grown man should suck on lollipops. And excuse me but Lil’ Wayne is NOT a good role model.

    And if he is, this lawyer’s haircut & suit make him the antithesis of what “gangsta” is.

  • LeaveMeBe

    He did all that for a hug? Wow. I wonder what he’d do for a blowjob…

  • EveryVillainIsLemons

    While I think that what the lawyer and his client did was stupid, I really can’t blame them for doing it if the ex-husband was being evasive about scheduling a time for the ex-wife to get her stuff.

  • LeaveMeBe

    And the soon-to-be-ex-husband must be some kind of wussy if the dude tapping on his window with a lollipop scared him. :)

  • http://www.CrimeCrunch.com/blog Chelsea Scott

    That was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen. Especially the weird hug scene.

  • http://justiceforcaylee.synthasite.com/ shyloh

    Yea that was a “crime Scene” for sure. I was actually saying WTF!!

  • Zazen

    Did you hear the guy talking to the lawyer thru his car window? Voice was so annoying I wanted to smack the shit out of him. Little bastard sure was prepared for the break-in though, wasn’t he?

  • LeaveMeBe

    I couldn’t view the video (I’m at work and it’s hit or miss with those)but I for sure will watch it when I get home since you pointed that out. The whole story rubbed me the wrong way on a lot of levels and the ex-hubs was kinda painted like my ex-husband so I may be having transference issues. :)

  • Deety

    For all we know, they’re both nutcases. I’m not giving anyone the benefit of the doubt in this one.

  • Deety

    She doesn’t look like she’s due any time now. She could have set a date to get her stuff like a reasonable person. And for all we know, she’s a loon and he will end up with primary custody. She doesn’t look too sane so far.

  • JohnQknowitall

    After the divorce is over I want to read the transcript. The marriage sounds like a juicy story.

  • Zazen

    Well, I’ll just say that there were a number of camera views involved in the video. I do have one complaint though–there were no cameras filming from the floor.

    I would have liked for there to have been at least one, so we could all visualize how traumatizing an experience this must have been for Mr. Stonecipher’s mice.

  • Spifftastic

    He is probably a douche (considering the cheating and all that), but I bet he had the court order for a reason. A woman who brings a gang to rob her ex-husband’s house sounds pretty insane to me, so I bet she had done something extreme and stupid already to justify the order. Usually you can call the cops to schedule a time to get your stuff so even if he said no she had much less neurotic ways to go about this. I can’t feel bad for any legal troubles that come to her because of her home invasion.

  • 18th40

    There’s a wonderful glossy brochure that provides a complete listing for all services provided, plus the upgrades that can be added on or purchased as a stand alone. Take your question for example, for a blowjob you could have your ex accosted on his first date in two years by a three toothed woman claiming she’s his cousin from Arkansas and she’s wondering why he’s so far behind on child support, and that’s just one of our standard packages no add on’s, so really the sky’s the limit.

  • JGo555

    In my defense I never saw the woman’s pic.

  • LeaveMeBe

    Damn. I wish I had known about this 17 years ago…

  • newstarshipsmell

    It feels wrong seeing an article on DD with a cheerful, smiling face at the top, and they aren’t dead.

  • kniption

    Amen, Spiff.  …and Deety, too.  

    I did not think that I wrote this somehow in favor of the aspiring ex-wife.  If it appeared that way, I can assure you that I had no intention of doing so.

    That said… if someone can actively participate in the burglary of a house, their need for baby furniture is, we’ll say, “not imminent.”  Whatever led up to it, that break-in was all about being colossal jerks.  To them, I say, “Congratu-fucking-lations.”

    …and that’s not easy to say.

  • kniption

    Did anyone else notice/appreciate that the attorney for the New Mexico Disciplinary Board’s failed attempt to pull Van Arnam’s license was named “William Slease?”

    Seriously?!  …and they are wondering why their motion was dismissed?!

  • Deety

    You’re hired!

  • Deety

    It’s sounding more and more like NM’s the place to be if you want to practice law. Sleaze, coke, home invasion, burglary… Sign me up for law school!

    Count Rack, can I stay with you while I study for the bar? I promise not to steal your panties and mail them to various DD writers! Probably…

  • DangerousKindOfSnark

    Ehhh, they all sound like a bunch of jerks. The wife is being a bitch, he’s already shacking up with a new chick, and the lawyer is a nutjob. Ah, aren’t first world problems great?

  • Deety

    The more I think about it, the more I think everyone involved in this situation is a complete fucktard.

  • tdavid6

    Agreed. I was going to say that this was a stupid way to solve anything, but considering sleazy ex already moved in his hoe-on-the-side while his wife was pregnant with their child, I feel little sympathy for him. In the words of Judge Milian, “I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same thing, but in the eyes of the law, you have to pay. I understand why you did what you did and I hope it was worth it”. As the jilted ex-wife, carrying the baby of a man flaunting his new girlfriend by moving her into the home I shared with him, it would be worth it to me. Even more so if I could get my lawyer to take the fall instead of me  ;)

  • jake8jazz

    I am to confused about this story to make a comment

  • http://twitter.com/AngelsMom0806 Angels Mom

    I’m not saying what she did was right but I can kind of wrap my head around it though it wouldn’t be my route taken.

       pregnancy
    + husband left you for someone else
    + moving that someone in to what used to be your home
    _______________________________________________
       angry beyond measure
    x pregnancy hormones
    _______________________________________________
       insane making irrational decisions 

  • EveryVillainIsLemons

    After taking the time to watch the video, I think that Van Arnam is creepy, but Anthony Stonecipher is definitely a complete douchebag, and I have no sympathy whatsoever for him.

  • Spifftastic

    I feel like this was planned too carefully to blame it on an irrational pregnant move. If it was spur of the moment I might go with that, but she gathered a gang of several people and headed over in a joint effort. That takes planning. If she can’t gain control of her emotions in that amount of time and consideration I have to consider her a nasty little woman who feels entitled to attack who she pleases.

    She had plenty of time to cool off, so if she couldn’t manage to clear her head then she must have a real aggression problem and maybe that’s why he left her. If she’s this spiteful of a court order and did something to justify the court order to begin with, she was likely violent and/or threatening (at least here that’s a requirement for such orders) which is a damn good reason for him to leave her, pregnant or not, in my book.

  • Califboy

    Finally, a lawyer that actually works for his money.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XKMAEMPVJ5T2Y35HKYTNG7I6SY Cedric

     I wonder if the wife was working off some of her Attorney fees.

  • kimbev69

    I agree with that i just gotta wonder about the lawyer and his employees that did this? Is she related to him or someone at the office, who would do this

  • curiousalways

    awesome post

  • http://twitter.com/AngelsMom0806 Angels Mom

    I disagree a bit. It only takes a phone call to get a group of people who would be ready to pull this off rather quickly. All I have to do is call cousin Pookie and he’ll handle the rest. The lawyer was easy since he seems to be smitten.

    Being cheated can do horrible things to a person mentally, being cheated on by your husband while pregnant and it resulting in the floozy living in your old residence can probably drive a person over the edge quicker then we might expect.

    As I stated, I’m not saying that she is right but I can come up with a plausible scenario in my head as to how all of this could have happened.

  • Spifftastic

    Agreed. I think the lawyer is the major dumbass in the story, the others just seem like they have no brains/self control. My guess is that he can’t get any and saw her desperation for attention (left for another woman while pregnant – who wouldn’t welcome any attention at that point?) and decided to exploit her feelings of abandonment to get a little something. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a herd of divorce lawyers waiting to pounce on the vulnerable out there somewhere.

  • Califboy

     Ya, I think the old guy has a thing for her, next you will hear of her suing his ass.

  • Califboy

     Ya, I think the old guy has a thing for her, next you will hear of her suing his ass.

  • Califboy

     At first, I thought they all were from Calif, the home of the fruit’s,nuts and flakes !

  • kimbev69

    Totally agree

  • Spifftastic

    I guess I can see that, but I still consider it an unreasonable anger problem beyond that of normal, level-headed people especially after a court order. Even the 15 minutes minimum it would’ve taken to round up and mobilize the troops really should’ve been enough for a moment of clarity for someone who has their anger issues in line. In my most pissed off moments I’ve never considered home invasion as an option, that’s extreme for anyone. But I’m sure you’re right that it all contributed, but this is one of those women I’d avoid at all costs at all times.

  • 18th40

    No sir, not easy at all !! You nailed the “Congrat” then let the “u” slide right into the “fucking”, (nice touch, not rushed at all) you kind of slow downed and sped up on the “lations”, but really, just attempting that mid-week is impressive. And don’t worry about the Russian judge, he’s a prick.

  • Pingback: New Mexico Divorce Attorney Caught On Video Breaking Into House (WATCH) | USA Press

  • My_Mind_Speaks

    It’s good to see that lawyers are now HANDS ON criminals…

  • Lena60

    Let us all know After LMB. :p

  • Lena60

    That Hug the lawyer gave her is creepy, I thought I heard him cum.Do to the fact she was willing to break into the house I can’t see her as a decent person. I reserve judgement on the husband till I get more details.Some of this might be hearsay.HMM?I think the ex wife might be having a little something something, going on with creepy lawyer.

  • Lena60

    Hey Ced, where have you been hiding?

  • Pingback: New Mexico Divorce Attorney Caught On Video Breaking Into House (WATCH) « CrimeAlertBlog.Com

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EFUEXG44NXGQE6SLVQUMNKBU7I That Guy

    Actually in this case, the mom already had a boyfriend on the side too! I live in this small town.

  • LeaveMeBe

    His receptionist told me that your apppoinment is 2 weeks before mine. HA! :D

  • Lena60

    Oh I canceled that one :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XKMAEMPVJ5T2Y35HKYTNG7I6SY Cedric

    I’m still around … just doing more reading than writing.

  • stoneciphes

    A large 11 min video on youtube just search VanArnam

  • stoneciphes

    I did marry Melissa Stonecipher so with that as proof
    it is a fair assessment that I am in at least slightly nuts however I can assure you
    I was trying to be fair and sent text messages to her an hour earlier asking
    that we set up a time Saturday.  You can
    see on youtube by searching “VanArnam” that I did tell her verbally and by
    email that I would work with her that weekend. 
    You can also see that she brought the police over earlier that afternoon
    while I was at work but was turned around once the police were handed the court
    order.  The police report also shows I
    told her Friday evening would not work for me as a reasonable time.

  • stoneciphes

    For the record I reasoned for her to stay in the home.  The embellishment circulating about the roommate
    is highly exasperated.  Melissa
    Stonecipher moved out on her own and I in no was forced her out.

  • Heather_Habilatory

     yeah yeah yeah. Come here and try to make cheating on your pregnant wife look better.

  • Wicked Smilee

    Quit being a lil bitch and let the kid have his junk. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMCY5SBUKYEK5NRTKAG7MDF4BA Steve

    Umm…. yeah. That is some dirty ass shit.  That lawyer KNEW he was breaking the law, due to the orders that were posted on the door, but didn’t care.  And then to come out and say that it was a setup?  I call BULLSHIT on that.  He knew what he was doing.  And I will say this… had it been MY house he busted into,  he would have left on a stretcher….. or worse.  
    The real shitty thing is…. he is still being allowed to practice law.   I wish they would revoke his law license already.   And another thing… that vid is really not gonna look good for the soon to be ex wife in court….  since her dumb ass was a participant.  

  • captaingrumpy

    She was after the Lawyers bono. I bet they have had more than one hug.

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