In French law. The name given to the public functionary who is charged in chief with the administration of the laws, in each department of the country. Merl. Repert See Crespin v. U. S., 108 U. S. 208, 18 Sup. Ct 53, 42 L. Ed. 438. The term is also used, in practically the same sense, in Mexico. But iu New Mexico, a prefect is a probate judge.