A trial over whether the GEO Group must pay minimum wage — instead of $1 a day — to immigration detainees who perform tasks like cooking and cleaning at its for-profit detention center in Washington state has ended with a hung jury.
U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma declared a mistrial Thursday after the nine-person jury indicated they could not reach unanimous agreement following a two-week trial and about two days of deliberation.
“Nobody’s happy, but nobody lost,” Bryan told the attorneys afterward.
Democratic Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the Florida-based GEO Group in 2017, saying the company had unjustly profited by running the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma — now known as the Northwest ICE Processing Center — on the backs of captive workers.
A separate lawsuit filed on behalf of detainees was also filed that year, seeking back pay. The judge, who rejected several attempts by GEO to dismiss the lawsuits, consolidated the cases for trial, which he conducted via Zoom because of the pandemic.
The judge said he expected that the cases would be set for a new trial.