Inmate released early from SLO County Jail, arrested the same day

May 23, 2023

James Delles


A San Luis Obispo County Jail inmate who was released early last week is already back behind bars.

On the morning of May 18, after spending less than four months in jail for burglary, grand theft and attempted robbery, 29-year-old James Delles was set free. He then made his way to the Smart & Final in San Luis Obispo, where he allegedly stole alcohol.

Less than 13 hours later, a California Highway Patrol officer booked Delles back in the SLO County Jail, this time on a drunk in public charge. He was released the next day.

Delles went back to the Smart & Final on May 20, but was told he was no longer allowed in the store. Undeterred, Delles walked to the alcohol section, shoved an assistant manager who attempted to block his access to the liquor bottles, grabbed a 750 ml bottle of rum and fled the store.

SLO police officers arrested Delles, who had already consumed more than half the bottle of rum, and booked him in the SLO County Jail on a robbery charge. Delles is currently on probation regarding two previous burglary convictions.

Delles’ criminal history spans seven states: New York, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and California.

In Jan. 2022, a judge sentenced Delles to 60 days in jail for a burglary in Sacramento. Then in Oct. 2022, Delles was charged with vandalism, obstruction and battery on a peace officer in San Bernardino.

On Jan. 30, 2023, a security camera recorded Delles burglarizing Blakeslee & Blakeslee, a financial service business on Marsh Street in SLO. The next day, Delles attempted to forcefully take a cell phone from former California State Representative Sam Blakeslee, who had tracked down the thief.

After Delles pled no contest to charges of burglary, grand theft and attempted robbery, the SLO County District Attorney’s Office asked Judge Barry LaBarbera to sentence the repeat offender to prison for the maximum sentence permitted under the law.

Judge LaBarbera, however, sentenced Delles to 270 days in the county jail followed by three years probation.

Delles was released after serving half his sentence on the morning of May 18. Officers arrested him on the evening of May 18 for drunk in public, and released him on May 19. Officers arrested him on May 20, for robbery. He is currently being held without bail.

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During the middle ages in London, the crown set up a hospital for the poor and sick, naming it St. Mary’s of Bethlehem. Over the years it devolved into an insane asylum where the practices of the hospital personnel was to simply lock up its clients and ignore them, or to exert terrible tortures for the recalcitrant.

Because Bethlehem was in the name, by the 18th Century the hospital was often referred to as Bedlam because it was easier to pronounce—hence a new word was added to the English language. Bedlam: a scene of uproar and confusion.

The hospital was notorious for housing the worst of the insane without offering any sort of treatment. Taxes were quite low on the upper classes in those days and there certainly wasn’t any money for the least productive Englishmen.

In fact, the wealthy upper class, who found insanity funny, would often travel to Bedlam to be entertained by the lunatics. The famous English engraver William Hogarth illustrated some of these “comedies.”

Not surprisingly, England in the 1700’s had little economic equality. A small, propertied royalty and gentry owned most of England’s wealth. A small number of Englishmen carved out a small piece of the pie in the growing middle class, but, by and large, the average Englishman was poor. If a member of their family fell into the cracks of society or displayed anti-social behavior they could end up in Bedlam.

In America over the last 30 years, the top 10% of America’s rich have added $60 trillion to their share of the pie, while the bottom 90% has added only $1 (a single) trillion dollars to their diminutive piece of pie. The middle class carves out a living, but the both them and the poor have few options if one of their family members goes off the rails. There is no treatment, there is no sympathy, there is only “lock them up and throw away the key.”

That is the mantra, because most of us are simply trying to eke out a living with the scraps tossed to us by the oligarchs. Until this nation brings its top tax rates back to the pre-Reagan level of 70% we will continue to be plagued by the story of Bedlam and this unfortunate individual.

Great history, lousy comparison. Especially when the USA was founded specifically because of oppressive British and European monarchies.

It sounds as though the police were doing their jobs but, once again, our judicial system hasn’t advocated for society. This man needs to be locked up and away from the civilized public for a long long time.

Since he started his life of crime in NY, buy him a bus ticket and send him back.

Just throw away the key.

He will be out in a week. Hope he doesn’t really hurt some innocent person next time. Shameful

Catch and release sure works real good to deter crime, right? uh right? uh…anyone?