Tinsley turned down FOIA requests for the subpoenas, saying at the time that releasing them could interfere with the investigation.
In 2008, Tinsley became the second black man to be president of the West Virginia State Bar. He has also served as president of the Mountain State Bar, the professional association for black lawyers.
Charleston attorney Harry Deitzler is president-elect of the State Bar. He said for Tinsley to become judge is a natural transition.
"He's very mature in his decision-making process. He weighs both sides," Deitzler said. "There was at least once case, maybe two, where he was opposing counsel to me and you never had to worry about whether or not he was fairly considering your position. I can't say that about every attorney in this state."
State Bar President James Wright, a Wheeling attorney, said Tinsley would "make a fine magistrate."
"I had heard of him before meeting him," Wright said. "Once I was able to work with him I saw just how logical he was. He has great intellect, integrity -- he's just a great guy. It's a great choice."
The current annual salary of the federal magistrate judge position is $160,080, according to the job posting on the federal court's website.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.