Brian James Moudry, 36, had been convicted of torching the Joliet home of a black family in 2007.
Judge Robert Gentleman said Moudry's court-appointed African-American attorney, MiAngel Cody, had represented Moudry "so ably and compassionately" and should teach him "race doesn't matter," the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday.
Cody had argued Moudry's crime had been influenced by his untreated schizophrenia, childhood abuse and extreme intoxication.
Prosecutor Nancy DePodesta had pushed for the 10-year sentence, saying Moudry's offense was an "exceptionally despicable crime motivated by hate."
In a show of support, Cody put her hand on Moudry's shoulder as he was led out of the courtroom.