A judge approved changing the probation conditions of a South Florida woman who is on the brink of homelessness so she can go to a shelter where children are present.
Yusimil Herrera, 29, served eight years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the death of her daughter and was ordered not to have any direct contact with children, her attorney Mark Eiglarsh said.
Herrera was arrested at age 20 for severely beating her young daughter in their North Miami apartment – following her own childhood in which she was beaten and sexually abused in Florida’s foster care system, according to Eiglarsh.
He told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny Wednesday morning that Herrera is “on the verge of homelessness” after being released from prison in March. Her sentence includes 10 years of probation.
Herrera is living in a trailer but wants to get out of that situation, Eiglarsh said in court.
“Because children are present, she’s been told that she can’t even go to a shelter. When she wants to get assistance, government assistance, she’s not able to go into a building that has children,” Eiglarsh said.
Herrera and her older sister were left in a park by their drug-addicted mother when they were very young, Eiglarsh said. Because of a bureaucratic error they were both rendered ineligible to be adopted and languished in foster care for their entire childhoods, he said.
“A civil jury heard what actually took place during the (age) 2-18 years that she spent in there, and awarded her and her sister $4.4 million based on the horrific sexual abuse, torture that she received,” Eiglarsh said.
But the judgment was overturned on a technicality, and the sisters ultimately settled for about $20,000, with most of that going toward his legal fees, Eiglarsh said.
But on Wednesday, Judge Colodny permitted an alteration to Herrera’s probation that Eiglarsh said he worked out with Assistant State Attorney Josh Weintraub.
“We’re very pleased with what the state allowed us to do,” Eiglarsh said in the hallway after court. “They agreed to amend the conditions of probation to allow her to be able to go to a shelter because she’s on the verge of homelessness, and allow her into government buildings where children may be present.”
Herrera said she is “very happy” about the change, which she hopes will allow to her to get into programs and therapy that she has not been able to access.
Her life since her release from prison has been hard, she said.
“I feel like doors (have) been closed, one after another. I’ve felt like giving up a couple of times,” Herrera said.
She said she is not a danger to kids, but her probation prevented her from going to a shelter during severe weather earlier this year.
“When the hurricane came, I was actually scared because they said they would put me in jail if I went to the shelter,” she said. “So it was hard for me.”