Katie Couric's Notebook: Prosecutors

Imagine being falsely accused of a bank robbery and spending eight years in prison, all because a prosecutor knowingly hid evidence about another, more likely suspect. That is exactly what happened to an innocent Arizona woman, and she's not alone.

A recent USA Today investigation found a pattern of grave misconduct by federal prosecutors determined to win at all costs -- even if means convicting the wrong person.

Since 1997, the paper identified more than 200 cases where prosecutors broke laws or ethics rules costing taxpayers more than $5 million in legal fees for the wrongly accused.

Some experts say personal ambition is to blame. Others point to oversized caseloads or inadequate training. Regardless, it has to stop.

The right to a fair trial is American as apple pie - but a few bad apples can discredit the entire system. Hopefully the Justice Department can root them out, before any more innocent people go to jail.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.