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The New Mexico Supreme Court has put on hold several citizen requests that used petition drives to call for convening grand juries to investigate Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s handling of COVID-19.

The state high court on Tuesday granted Lujan Grisham’s motion for a stay of requests filed in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties in southeastern New Mexico pending further court filings, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Republican legislators and others have criticized Lujan Grisham’s imposition of masking mandates and other public-health requirements during the pandemic as overly burdensome and infringing on personal freedoms. She has defended them as necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus

State Sen. David Gallegos, one of the individuals seeking grand juries, expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court’s order.

“You would think at some point in time the people could be heard,” Gallegos told the Journal.

A Eunice Republican, Gallegos said he was seeking grand juries as a citizen and not as a legislator.

New Mexico is one of just a few states that allows for citizen-initiated grand jury proceedings, which under the New Mexico Constitution require a certain number of voter signatures be submitted for a judge to convene such a grand jury.

Grand juries are typically used by prosecutors in order to indict individuals for alleged criminal wrongdoing.

The state Supreme Court has generally upheld the legality of Lujan Grisham’s actions to combat the pandemic. However, the justices on Wednesday sided with legislators who challenged her authority to unilaterally spend roughly $1.7 billion in federal relief funds.

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