Proving Significant Risk of An Increase In Punishment by Statute Amendments

In Sheffield v. Department of Corrections, 894 A.2d 836 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006), the Court held that the petitioner failed to plead sufficient evidence in support of his argument that he faced a significant risk of an increase in punishment by application of the amended Parole Act to his parole decision. The petitioner in Sheffield included extensive pleadings in support of his ex post facto claim, including data about parole rates before and after the 1996 Amendment. The petitioner in Sheffield also provided data in support of his argument that an increase in the number of board members under the 1996 Amendment resulted in a lesser chance for his parole. Despite pleadings of at least sixty-four numbered paragraphs and numerous exhibits, we determined that the petitioner failed to substantiate his ex post facto claim by proving that the 1996 Amendment to the Parole Act created a "significant risk of an increased punishment."