Assist Your Client with a Break-In? Lose Your License

By Robyn Hagan Cain on February 21, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We can certainly appreciate a lawyer who is willing to go above and beyond for his client. That’s arguably better than falling asleep during your client’s cross-examination. But assisting your client with breaking and entering is a good way to lose your license.

And we’re not just speaking in hypotheticals here.

The New Mexico Supreme Court suspended attorney Raymond T. Van Arnam from practicing law for two years last week. To be readmitted at the end of his suspension, he will have to undergo a psychological evaluation and submit to a fitness assessment, the Alamogordo Daily News reports.

Last year, Arnam was arrested for helping his client, Melissa Stonecipher, break into her estranged husband's home, the ABA Journal reports. During his sentencing hearing, he told the court that his client's spouse upset him because he had moved another woman into his home while Melissa was pregnant with their child.

He told ABC News, "I was personally angry with what he was doing to my client. He was bullying her and dominating her."

The disciplinary action wasn't Raymond Arnam's only demerit: The attorney got 30 days in jail and 100 days of community service for his overzealous shenanigans. He was also ordered to pay $2,732 in court costs and fines along with $5,000 in restitution to the victim, according to the Alamogordo Daily News.

The American Bar Association's description of a lawyer's responsibilities explains: A lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice ... As advocate, a lawyer zealously asserts the client's position under the rules of the adversary system.

For the sake of the "quality of justice," don't help your clients break and enter. Justice can't be served while your license is suspended.

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