INDIANAPOLISOn Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive grant of clemency, commuting the sentences of several individuals, including Northwest Indiana native Charles Duke Tanner. Tanner, a former professional boxer, was 24 years old when he was arrested and convicted on charges of drug conspiracy. Though it was his first conviction and a non-violent offense, he was sentenced to life in prison, which was later reduced to 30 years.

Following his arrest, Tanner immediately began working to turn his life around, devoting hundreds of hours of time to taking educational courses. Tanner also received staff recommendation and Warden approval to enter a 18-month re-entry program.

Charles Duke Tanner had the following response to being granted clemency:

“First and foremost, I would like to say how blessed and thankful to God I am,” Tanner said. “Eddie and I have been talking for a long time about what we could do for our community, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to begin working on those plans. To have him with me on this day is amazing. I’m super grateful at being granted clemency by the President of the United States, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I feel like my story is a win-win. I had all this talent, but I messed up. Still, you always have to get back up and do something about it. Even when you fall down, you have to get back up and keep pushing. That’s the model we’ll be pushing in Gary and, hopefully, in other cities and states.”

State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary), who has worked for several years with the Trump administration to facilitate Charles Tanner’s release, had the following statement in response to the news of Tanner finally being granted clemency.

“This is an absolute blessing, and we give God all the glory,” Sen. Melton said. “I’ve spoken with Charles almost every other week, and it feels surreal to actually be on my way to pick him up and take him home. My brother, Troy Bly, and so many others have worked alongside me these past few years to see this reality come to pass. We are all beyond grateful that Tanner has finally been granted the freedom that he has worked hard to show he deserves.

“I would like to give a special thanks to Ja’Ron K. Smith, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. He was able to put this request on the President’s desk, and now Charles Tanner is on his way home. Not only is he very excited to get back to his family, but he’s already looking at ways he can help bring positive changes to the City of Gary.

Troy Bly, Charles Tanner’s manager, had the following response:

“This couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. Even after a life sentence, Duke never stopped fighting and now he was able to receive clemency. We can’t wait to get back to the community and help as many people as possible. This is just the beginning, and we’ll continue fighting to bring as many of our people as possible back from prison.”


Sen. Melton represents Indiana Senate District 3 which encompasses portions of Lake County. District 3 communities include Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Ainsworth, Merrillville and Crown Point. For more information on Sen. Melton, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800 382-9467 or visit

NOTE: A photo of Sen. Eddie Melton can be downloaded by clicking here.