Judge Wilson is a life long resident of Nevada. He was raised in Carson City, earned the Eagle Scout rank, and graduated from Carson City High School in 1973. He attended UNR, and fought fires for BLM during the summer. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1977 and then worked as a smokejumper for the U.S. Forest Service. He served as a deputy sheriff in Carson City working patrol and traffic divisions and as a member of the SWAT team.
Judge Wilson attended McGeorge School of Law and received his Juris Doctorate in 1981. He began his law career in 1981 as an Elko County Deputy District Attorney. In 1982 the citizens of Elko county elected him District Attorney and he served until 1986 when he entered private practice. He operated a solo general practice in Carson City from 1988 to 2008 when he was elected District Court Judge of the First Judicial District Court.