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Imagine you are convicted of multiple fraud-related felonies involving the theft of a six-figure sum of money. You’re looking at a maximum sentence of 30 years. If the prosecution asked for a ten-year sentence with five years suspended, you’d probably breathe a sigh of relief, even though you’d still expect to spend considerable time behind bars. A couple of years at least, right?
Montana pastor and one-time novelist Harris Himes, however, bagged himself a Christmas miracle of sorts when he got a judge to sentence him to roughly 65 days.

Himes was convicted of failure to register a security, failure to register as a security salesperson, and fraudulent practices, all felonies. … [He] was sentenced Friday afternoon by Madison County District Judge Loren Tucker to a 10-year commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections, with all but 90 days suspended.

Those 90 days actually add up to about 65, as the judge was kind enough to give Himes a second sweetheart deal: a sentence of five days a week.

“Out of the 90 days, you may have two days each week to go about the tasks that are important to you,” Tucker said.

Himes and a fellow pastor, James “Jeb” Bryant, had been on trial for swindling a former parishioner out of his inheritance.

Court records said the two promised the man a large return on his investment in the Mexican-based building materials company Duratherm Building Systems. At trial in September, the man testified that he was surprised to find the factory was nothing more than an empty agricultural shed when he traveled to Mexico to help with the company.

The Reverend Himes has a well-developed persecution complex. A vocal enemy of gay rights and abortion, and an avid proponent of the verse from Leviticus that states that homosexuals should be punished by death,

Himes claimed he was the victim of “selective prosecution” by the state auditor’s office due to his conservative religious views.

One report states that Himes called the charges against him

… a “witch hunt” trumped up by “gay and pro-choice activists.“ He told the jury pool that “I am a fundamentalist, Bible-thumping conservative Christian,” and that his trial was part of a war on Christianity.

The judge rejected all that craziness, but continued to show his apparent soft spot for the defendant by, rather than sending him to the pokey straight away, allowing him to go home for the holidays.

“You can spend Christmas with your loved ones,” Tucker said. “That’s probably the best the court can do for you today.”

I wouldn’t say it’s the best the court did for Himes — that would be his ultra-low sentence — but hey, when you’re reaping the Lord’s blessings, every little bit helps.