Brian E. Cotter, Esq., 77, respected attorney and professor, beloved father, brother, and grandfather, passed away on June 25, 2023. He was born in Alexandria, VA on January 24, 1946, the son of the late Atty Robert and Rita (Lang) Cotter. He was proud to grow up in Abington and Cape Cod, MA as one of seven siblings who he loved fiercely.
Brian attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law. He moved to Danbury in 1971 where he remained a resident for almost 50 years.
Throughout his distinguished career as supervisory assistant state’s attorney for the Judicial District in Danbury from 1972-1996, Brian prosecuted many high-profile cases.
He was equally proud of his work as a professor of law at Western Connecticut State University and of his private practice, focused on mortgage and later immigration law.
Brian believed in democracy and civic duty, serving on the Danbury Board of Education for two terms and actively participating in local politics in his home states. He served as treasurer of the Connecticut State’s Prosecutor’s Association, and president and vice president of the Danbury Bar Association.
He loved politics, the New England Ocean, playing and watching golf, and always enjoyed a good laugh. Brian most of all loved his role as an “over 40” father to his son Sean, and again his role as “Gramps” to his granddaughter Olivia. He often expressed his appreciation of the opportunity to be an older and wiser father, and fully treasured every moment spent with Sean. Later in life, he loved nothing more than helping raise his granddaughter, and was often seen on dinner dates about town with his favorite girl, Olivia.
Brian is survived by his son, Sean Cotter; his daughter, Elizabeth Cotter and her husband, Eric MacFayden; his granddaughter, Olivia; his sister Julie Cotter; his brothers Chris, Greg, and Barry Cotter; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his third wife, Leslie Burkhard.
He was predeceased by his wife of 32 years and mother of his children Ellen (Tomaino); and his brothers Jim and Shawn Cotter.
I had the pleasure of first meeting Cotter in 2007 when he ran for City Treasurer and I will always cherish the time we shared getting to know each other.
Here's an interview I conducted with Cotter the day before Election Day 2007.
04.25.22 (RADIO): WSHU Latino group call on Connecticut lawmakers to open a Danbury charter school
06.03.22 (OP-ED): KUSHNER: "Career Academy ‘a great deal for Danbury"
On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.