Former judge Cotto Vives, who most recently led the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel, dies at 75
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Thursday ordered three days of mourning and flags on public buildings lowered to half-mast to honor former judge Nydia Cotto Vives, who served as president of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (PFEI by its Spanish initials) and whose death was announced by the organization earlier in the day.
“With much sadness, I received the news of the death of the president of the office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel,” the governor said. “Puerto Rico has lost a great public servant.”
The current members of the PFEI, former judges Rubén Vélez Torres, Ygrí Rivera Sánchez and Aida Nieves Figueroa, said in a written statement that Cotto Vives, 75, died as a result of “a health ailment that had been afflicting her.”
The cause of death was not made public.
“With an iron attitude and temper, an incorruptible character, fine human sensitivity, and an indisputable commitment to integrity and justice, former Judge Cotto Vives gave a life of commitment, passion and service to Puerto Rico, without blemish or rejection of the fulfillment of duty,” the judges said.
Cotto Vives “left an admirable legacy of dedication and professionalism” in two branches of government, having served as a lawyer and consultant in agencies such as the Housing Bank, the then-Department of Social Services -- today called the Family Department -- the Office of the Women’s Advocate, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Parole Board, an entity that she led, the judges noted.
“She was the first Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and also chaired the Board of Directors of the Office of Pretrial Services,” the judges said. “In addition, she served as a Senior Judge of the Court of First Instance and a Judge of the Court of Appeals. This distinguished jurist accepted the call of our people to defend integrity and excellence in the governmental entity with rectitude, integrity and outstanding leadership. That was the mark she left on her time at the FEI Panel.”