FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Lawyers are closing their case in the trial of Willard Miller, a former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy accused of getting too rough with a student in 2019.

Both sides, defense and state prosecutors, argued over case law and precedent, on the third day of the trial, Thursday afternoon, as they tried to figure out the exact wording that will go to jury instruction.

Defense attorney Jeremy Kroll hopes jurors agree that Miller was acting in place of a parent that day in September of 2019 when he slammed 15-year-old Summer Smith to the ground.

Kroll said that according to Florida law, if a teen or child misbehaves, it is lawful for a parent or someone in a parental role to use corporal punishment for disciplinary purposes. However, that punishment cannot cause great harm.

The defense claimed that the body slam was an attempt to discipline Smith and deputy Miller lost his balance when he pushed her down, which made the slam appear worse than it was.

According to prosecutors, Miller was the aggressor and should have known better as a deputy and have had more control that day.

When asked on the stand what he was doing when he decided to body slam the student, Miller said it was one of two things: he was going to arrest her or he was just going to discipline her.

Miller spoke on the stand Wednesday and said the following when asked if his decision to body slam Smith was the correct one:

“At that time, I thought that was the corrective manner, that I didn’t know whether I was going to arrest her or I didn’t know what was going to happen so, at that specific second, I thought that was the proper way to handle the situation,” he said.

Miller is being charged with child abuse, a felony.

He is hoping jurors will find him not guilty.

Deliberations will begin as soon as closing arguments end.

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